Thursday, 25 June 2009

Millet watch: Setaria genetics

Plant Physiology for January includes a short, useful review on the genetics of foxtail millet, by Doust, Kellogg, Devos and Bennetzen. From this we learn that work is underway to prepare a full genome sequence for Setaria. It usefully provides an bibliography on the phylogenetc and genetic diversity studies in Setaria italica and viridis. Most of these have concluded that Setaria italica is polyphyletic (work by Kawase, Fukunaga, etc.), although the number fo domestications versus the role of introgression with local wild populations deserves further research. It includes some discussion of architectural changes, relating to growth habit--especially apical dominance-- that were important in the domestication process of this species (and also most other cereals).

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