In order to build and maintain cells, DNA is copied into ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules, also called transcripts. Transcripts are often like a recipe for making proteins, and a collection of all the transcripts in a cell is called a transcriptome.
Pankaj Jaiswal, Assistant Professor of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University, Samuel Fox, a Postdoctoral Associate in Jaiswal's laboratory, and colleagues assembled transcriptomes of a noxious weed, Brachypodium sylvaticum, or slender false brome. The transcriptome provides an extensive genetic tool for studying how invasive species, like slender false brome, successfully spread into novel ranges. In addition, the genome is available for a closely related species, Brachypodium distachyon. Together, the transcriptome and genome can be used as a reference for pinpointing differences in slender false brome genes and gene activity that may contribute to its invasive capabilities.
Slender false brome is an invasive grass that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It was introduced into the United States about 100 years ago and is listed as a noxious weed along the West Coast of the United States. "It is aggressively invasive within its current rangenear monocultures of this grass occupy thousands of hectares of mixed coniferous understory and grassland habitats in Oregon," says Mitch Cruzan, coauthor and Associate Professor of Biology at Portland State University.
Slender false brome is ideal as a model for invasive plant evolution. "False brome is in the process of active range expansion and is wildly successful despite experiencing colder, wet winters and drier summers than plants in the native range," explains Cruzan, "so it is a great system for studying ecological and evolutionary aspects of invasion."
Fox and colleagues have assembled the transcriptomes for two slender false brome populations from its native range (Greece, Spain) and one popu
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American Journal of Botany