Mining rice domestication related genes in in Microlaena stipoides

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Malory, S, Shapter, FM, Elphinstone, MJ, Chivers, IH & Henry, RJ 2010, 'Mining rice domestication related genes in Microlaena stipoides.', paper presented to Molecular Farming Workshop, Monash University, Clayton, Vic.


Microlaena stipoides, commonly known as weeping grass, is a distant relative of rice. It is a drought, frost and shade tolerant perennial evergreen plant and produces seeds similar to rice. M. stipoides can be used for grain production and additionally it can be grazed as a pasture. This species responds well to nitrogen application and also regular irrigation, making commercial production possible and making it a target for domestication. Extensive sequencing and comparative mapping has established a high degree of conservation between rice and other grasses, allowing the isolation of the corresponding homologues of important rice genes in other grasses. Whole genome shotgun sequencing has been performed on M. stipoides using Illumina Genome Analyzer IIx. The results have allowed the mining of rice domestication related genes in M. stipoides. This technique has the potential to be utilised for other wild grasses to screen for desirable domestication related traits.