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Brachypodium Facts

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 genomeall 270 million base pairswas 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 seedsit 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.