Why is Brachypodium distachyon the model grass species for genomic plant research?
- Brachy is a model plant for studying cereal and biofuel crops.
- Brachy is very easy to grow and study in the lab.
- Brachy’s common name is purple false brome.
- Brachy is native to southern Europe, northern Africa, and southwestern Asia east to India.
- Brachy is closely related to the major cereal grain species including wheat, barley, oats, maize, and rice.
- Brachy’s entire genome—all 270 million base pairs—was first sequenced in 2010.
- Brachy grows from a seed to an adult plant that produces seeds in just six to eight weeks.
- Brachy is a species of small grass, that grows no taller than 20 cm (that’s the height of a #2 pencil!).
- Brachy is a monocot, more closely related to other grasses than broad-leafed plants like tomatoes and sunflowers, which are dicots.
- Brachy does not require pollinators to produce seeds—it can self-fertilize.
- Brachy seeds are much larger than the seeds of many other grasses.
- Understanding the genes and cell walls of Brachy will help scientists develop better biofuels.