Micro-colinearity between rice, Brachypodium, and Triticum monococcum at the wheat domestication locus Q

Justin D Faris, Zengcui Zhang, John P Fellers, Bikram S Gill
Functional & Integrative Genomics 2008, 8 (2): 149-64
Brachypodium, a wild temperate grass with a small genome, was recently proposed as a new model organism for the large-genome grasses. In this study, we evaluated gene content and microcolinearity between diploid wheat (Triticum monococcum), Brachypodium sylvaticum, and rice at a local genomic region harboring the major wheat domestication gene Q. Gene density was much lower in T. monococcum (one per 41 kb) because of gene duplication and an abundance of transposable elements within intergenic regions as compared to B. sylvaticum (one per 14 kb) and rice (one per 10 kb). For the Q gene region, microcolinearity was more conserved between wheat and rice than between wheat and Brachypodium because B. sylvaticum contained two genes apparently not present within the orthologous regions of T. monococcum and rice. However, phylogenetic analysis of Q and leukotriene A-4 hydrolase-like gene orthologs, which were colinear among the three species, showed that Brachypodium is more closely related to wheat than rice, which agrees with previous studies. We conclude that Brachypodium will be a useful tool for gene discovery, comparative genomics, and the study of evolutionary relationships among the grasses but will not preclude the need to conduct large-scale genomics experiments in the Triticeae.

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