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 Make way for the mini flying machines
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>