Brachypodium, 20 years as a grass biology model system

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Brachypodium, 20 years as a grass biology model system:  current state of research on a plant and a genus that have revolutionized studies of monocots

Seven researchers from the International Brachypodium Consortium, including  Pilar Catalán Rodríguez, Professor of Botany at the University of Zaragoza (High Polytechnic School of Huesca) and BIFI researcher, have published an article this October in the prestigious journal Trends in Plant Science which highlights the most important scientific advances made in investigations of the Brachypodium model system following the publication more than two decades ago of the first complete genome of its flagship species B. distachyon.

The article features how the studies, undertaken from the model plant B. distachyon, now extend to several species of the genus and that, thanks to the extensive genome sequencing programs, have provided resources to explore the determinants and drivers of population diversity and processes of speciation, polyploidization, and perenniality.  The parallel development of advanced cytomolecular studies has made Brachypodium an ideal platform to investigate various aspects of the organization of the interphase nucleus and its chromosomes. The value of Brachypodium as a reference genomic platform has been demonstrated in the identification of key genes for development and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses, and for understanding cell wall structure and function. The impact of research in Brachypodium goes beyond its use as a functional system for temperate grasses and biofuel grasses, emerging as an intriguing model for studies of combined stresses, response to climate change, and plant-microbiome interactions.

Publication: Hasterok R, Catalan P, Hazen SP, Roulin AC, Vogel JP, Wang K, Mur LAJ. 2022. Brachypodium: Twenty years as a grass biology model system; the way forward? Trends in Plant Science 27: 1002-1016. . Link to the publication here

Photograph: Pilar Catalán with Brachypodium plants used in genomic and evolutionary studies of the genus at the High Polytechnic School of Huesca.

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