Grass crop genomics research frequently is hindered by large genome sizes and polyploidy. While rice is an attractive system for grass genomics due to its small genome size and available genome sequence, it is not particularly well-suited as a robust model system for all grass crops. The wild grass species Brachypodium distachyon (L.) P. Beauv. (Brachypodium) has recently gained favor as a new model system for grass crop genomics research because it possesses a suite of biological traits desired in a model system. Further, it is more closely related to the large and diverse group of cool season grass crops than is either rice (Oryza sativa L.) or sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench.], the second grass crop species whose genome has been sequenced. Thus, by virtue both of its biological attributes and its evolutionary history, Brachypodium fills an important gap in grass crop genomics research. A surge in interest in Brachypodium has led to rapid and significant advances in the acquisition of knowledge and development of resources needed to exploit this species as a model system, including. the impending completion of a draft nuclear genome sequence of Brachypodium. Integration of diverse genetic and genomic resources developed or under development for Brachypodium with the genome sequence will encourage further adoption of this species as a bona fide model plant system.