Plant phenomics, from sensors to knowledge

Tardieu, François and Cabrera-Bosquet, Llorenç and Pridmore, Tony P. and Bennett, Malcolm J. (2017) Plant phenomics, from sensors to knowledge. Current Biology, 27 (15). R770-R783. ISSN 1879-0445

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Abstract

Major improvements in crop yield are needed to keep pace with population growth and climate change. While plant breeding efforts have greatly benefited from advances in genomics, profiling the crop phenome (i.e., the structure and function of plants) associated with allelic variants and environments remains a major technical bottleneck. Here, we review the conceptual and technical challenges facing plant phenomics. We first discuss how, given plants’ high levels of morphological plasticity, crop phenomics presents distinct challenges compared with studies in animals. Next, we present strategies for multi-scale phenomics, and describe how major improvements in imaging, sensor technologies and data analysis are now making high-throughput root, shoot, whole-plant and canopy phenomic studies possible. We then suggest that research in this area is entering a new stage of development, in which phenomic pipelines can help researchers transform large numbers of images and sensor data into knowledge, necessitating novel methods of data handling and modelling. Collectively, these innovations are helping accelerate the selection of the next generation of crops more sustainable and resilient to climate change, and whose benefits promise to scale from physiology to breeding and to deliver real world impact for ongoing global food security efforts.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences > Division of Plant and Crop Sciences
University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.055
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2017 10:18
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2017 18:13
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/46415

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