As a member of the GRAS gene family, SCARECROWLIKE (SCL) genes encode transcriptional regulators that are involved in plant information transmission and signal transduction. In a recent study led by researchers from Hebei University, 44 SCL genes including two SCARECROW genes in millet were identified to be distributed on eight chromosomes, except chromosome 6.

All the millet genes contain motifs 6–8, indicating that these motifs are conserved during the evolution. SCL genes of millet were divided into eight groups based on the phylogenetic relationship and classification of Arabidopsis SCL genes. Several putative millet orthologous genes in Arabidopsis, maize and rice were identified. High throughput RNA sequencing revealed that the expressions of millet SCL genes in root, stem, leaf, spica, and along leaf gradient varied greatly. Analyses combining the gene expression patterns, gene structures, motif compositions, promoter cis-elements identification, alternative splicing of transcripts and phylogenetic relationship of SCL genes indicate that the these genes may play diverse functions. Functionally characterized SCL genes in maize, rice and Arabidopsis could provide some clues for future characterization of their homologues in millet.

This is the first study of millet SCL genes at the genome wide level and provides a useful platform for functional analysis of SCL genes in millet, a model crop for C4photosynthesis and bioenergy studies.


Liu, H., Qin, J., Fan, H. et al. (2017) Genome-wide identification, phylogeny and expression analyses of SCARECROWLIKE(SCL) genes in millet (Setaria italica) Physiol Mol Biol Plants doi: 10.1007/s12298-017-0455-6 [abstract]

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