On May 25, Berkeley Lab and Biosciences Area leadership officially welcomed the EcoPOD to its home at Potter Street in West Berkeley. The Lab’s Deputy Director for Research Horst Simon and Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences Mary Maxon opened the doors of the EcoPOD after Maxon cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Flowering plants abide by the concept, “the more the merrier,” with respect to their genomes. In their base state, they are diploids with two genome copies, one from each parent. Having three or more genome copies from additional parents or duplication, also known as “polyploidy,” is common amongst flowering plants. Crop breeders have harnessed polyploidy to increase fruit and flower size, and confer stress tolerance traits. In Nature Communications, a multi-institutional team led by researchers at Spain’s Universidad de Zaragoza and the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) relied on a model grass system (Brachypodium) to learn more about the origins, evolution and development of plant polyploids. Read more on the JGI website.
Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench is an African grass that adroitly handles droughts, floods and poor soils. While sorghum is drought-tolerant, the crop’s precise response is dependent on when exactly water becomes a limiting factor – before or after flowering. Reported in PNAS the week of December 2, 2019, is the first paper that describes sorghum’s response to drought, from a large-scale field experiment led by a multi-institutional consortium to uncover the mechanisms behind sorghum’s capacity to produce high yields despite drought conditions. Read the full highlight on the JGI website.
A pan-genome, the non-redundant union of all the sets of genes found in individuals of a species, is a valuable resource for unlocking natural diversity. However, the computational resources required to produce a large number of high quality genome assemblies has been a limiting factor in creating plant pan-genomes. In Nature Communications, an international team led by JGI researchers gauged the size of a plant pan-genome using the JGI Plant Flagship Genome of Brachypodium distachyon, a wild grass widely used as a model for grain and biomass crops. Read more on the JGI website.
With help from the Joint Genome Institute, a Stanford University team used a genetic screen to identify a mutant in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon that affects stomatal morphology and, by extension, how plants manage water. Read the JGI Science Highlight.