Open Access Research article

Selection and phenotypic characterization of a core collection of Brachypodium distachyon inbred lines

Ludmila Tyler125, Jonatan U Fangel3, Alexandra Dotson Fagerström36, Michael A Steinwand12, Theodore K Raab4, William GT Willats3 and John P Vogel1*

Author Affiliations

1 USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center, Albany, CA, USA

2 Current address: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

3 University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

4 Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA, USA

5 Current address: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA

6 Current address: Energy Biosciences Institute, Berkeley, CA, USA

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:25  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-25

Published: 14 January 2014



The model grass Brachypodium distachyon is increasingly used to study various aspects of grass biology. A large and genotypically diverse collection of B. distachyon germplasm has been assembled by the research community. The natural variation in this collection can serve as a powerful experimental tool for many areas of inquiry, including investigating biomass traits.


We surveyed the phenotypic diversity in a large collection of inbred lines and then selected a core collection of lines for more detailed analysis with an emphasis on traits relevant to the use of grasses as biofuel and grain crops. Phenotypic characters examined included plant height, growth habit, stem density, flowering time, and seed weight. We also surveyed differences in cell wall composition using near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) and comprehensive microarray polymer profiling (CoMPP). In all cases, we observed extensive natural variation including a two-fold variation in stem density, four-fold variation in ferulic acid bound to hemicellulose, and 1.7-fold variation in seed mass.


These characterizations can provide the criteria for selecting diverse lines for future investigations of the genetic basis of the observed phenotypic variation.

Brachypodium distachyon; Cell wall; NIR; Seed; Biofuel