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Mini-symposium highlights new technologies for measuring plant variation

-Magdalen Lindeberg

Whether focused on yield, flavor, or other characteristics, humans have been identifying and selecting desirable plant traits for over 10,000 years. With recent advances in genome sequencing, these traits can be rapidly associated with specific regions in plant genomes and the resulting information used to breed new varieties. However, some of the characteristics with the greatest potential impact on yield and stress tolerance are more difficult to rapidly and accurately visualize using traditional methods.

Gore shows field-scale canopy temperature data

Speakers at the May 16th Next Generation Plant Phenotyping Technologies Mini-Symposium focused on the many ways in which new technologies are expanding the range of plant characteristics (or phenotypes) that can visualized and quantified. These range from characteristics that have been literally hidden, like the root branching patterns that are being imaged by Chris Topp from the Danforth Center, or how mineral nutrients are distributed in plant tissues, as studied by Olena Vatamaniuk with the aid of instrumentation at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source.  In contrast, Mike Gore (SIPS Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics) is focused on development of strategies for visualizing whole fields over time and the computational methods required for analyzing the resulting data.

Speaker Todd DeZwaan described some of the instrumentation being developed at LemnaTech for lab, field, and greenhouse plant phenotyping.  Argelia Lorence, professor at Arkansas State University and leader of a plant phenotyping core facility there, described the use of LemnaTech and other instrumentation for addressing a variety of phenotyping challenges.

The symposium was organized by Olena Vatamaniuk and Mike Gore with support from the School of Integrative Plant Science and the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity. The schedule included opportunities for students to interact with the speakers. During a lunch with the students, DeZwaan emphasized the value to the industry of young scientists with training in greenhouse and data management as well as team leadership skills.

Vatamaniuk describes technology for imaging mineral nutrients
Topp describes different root features that can be described with 3-D imaging

Complete symposium schedule

View seminar videos

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