Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


First member of the wheat and barley group of grasses is sequenced

A few grass species provide the bulk of our food supply and new grass crops are being domesticated for sustainable energy and feedstock production. However there are significant barriers limiting crop improvement, such as a lack of knowledge of gene function and their large and complex genomes.

Now, in the 11 February issue of Nature, an international consortium led by the John Innes Centre, the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, the US Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University present an analysis of the complete genome sequence of the wild grass Brachypodium distachyon.

Three different groups of grasses, represented by maize, rice and wheat, provide most of the grains that support human nutrition and our domesticated animals. The genomes of two of these three groups have been sequenced. Brachypodium distachyon is the first member of the third group, which contains key food and fodder crops such as wheat, barley and forage grasses, to be sequenced.

Analysis of the compact Brachypodium genome has provided new insights into how grass genomes evolve and expand and it has demonstrated how Brachypodium can be used to navigate the closely related yet far larger and more complex genomes of wheat and barley.

"Our analysis of the Brachypodium genome is a key resource for securing sustainable supplies of food, feed and fuel from established crops such as wheat, barley and forage grasses and for the development of crops for bioenergy and renewable resource production", stated Michael Bevan from the John Innes Centre.

"It is already being widely used by crop scientists to identify genes in wheat and barley, and it is defining new approaches to large-scale genome analysis of these crops, because of the high degree of conserved gene structure and organisation we identified".

Brachypodium also has other important features, including a rapid life cycle and a very compact growth habit, making it ideal for laboratory studies. Philippe Vain is leading a programme at the John Innes Centre aimed at providing scientists with resources to identify gene functions. "Scientists can now use genetic resources we are developing in Brachypodium to determine the functions of genes involved in grass crop productivity. This has the potential to accelerate research in sustainable food production and in new sources of energy".
For more information about the international collaboration go to:, to access the genome sequence go to, and to access functional genomics resources go to

Scientists at the John Innes Centre and their colleagues are working on projects aimed at enhancing food security and creating sustainable industries. The John Innes Centre, supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the John Innes Foundation, is committed to creating the resources and understanding needed for sustainable food and fuel production.

Andrew Chapple | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>