Grain dormancy and light quality effects on germination in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon


Author for correspondence:
José M. Barrero
Tel: +61 2 6246 4842


  • Lack of grain dormancy in cereal crops such as barley and wheat is a common problem affecting farming areas around the world, causing losses in yield and quality because of preharvest sprouting. Control of seed or grain dormancy has been investigated extensively using various approaches in different species, including Arabidopsis and cereals. However, the use of a monocot model plant such as Brachypodium distachyon presents opportunities for the discovery of new genes related to grain dormancy that are not present in modern commercial crops.
  • In this work we present an anatomical description of the Brachypodium caryopsis, and we describe the dormancy behaviour of six common diploid Brachypodium inbred genotypes. We also study the effect of light quality (blue, red and far-red) on germination, and analyse changes in abscisic acid levels and gene expression between a dormant and a non-dormant Brachypodium genotype.
  • Our results indicate that different genotypes display high natural variability in grain dormancy and that the characteristics of dormancy and germination are similar to those found in other cereals.
  • We propose that Brachypodium is an ideal model for studies of grain dormancy in grasses and can be used to identify new strategies for increasing grain dormancy in crop species.