30 September 2015 - By: Christine Raines


By Christine Raines

Plant phenomics and the need for physiological phenotyping to narrow the genotype-to-phenotype knowledge gap. (J. Exp. Bot. (2015) 66 (18): 5249-5440 doi:10.1093/jxb/erv345). Dominik K Grobinsky, Jesper Svensgard, Sven Christnesen and Thomas Roitsch.

Phenotyping of plants is not a new methodology and has been used by breeders and researchers to determine links between genetics and functional plants traits. More recently the term phenomics has been coined, with analogy to genomics, meaning the collection of detailed, multi-dimensional data and this approach is being used in both laboratory and field conditions. The Opinon Paper by Grobinsky et al, published in a recent special on plant phenotyping, provides a state of the art overview of technologies for non-invasive phenotyping and the issues of managing and exploiting the large data sets generated from these analyses. Importantly, this paper also highlights the need for the development of new approaches to allow for physiological phenotyping at a tissue and cellular level to enable a phenomics approach. 

The authors make a case for high dimensional physiological phenotyping as an essential bridge to link the external phenotype to the genotype. A major challenge highlighted in this paper is the big data issue and this is discussed and a proposal for standardisation made in a separate opinion paper in this Special Issue by Krajweski et al 66, 5417-5427. The importance of phenotyping and phenomics for the production of new genetic varieties of our major crops cannot be underestimated and these papers provide both insight and ideas on how to move this field forward.

Category: Plant Biology
Christine raines

Christine Raines

Christine Raines is a Professor of Plant and Molecular Physiology at the University of Essex as well as being Editor in Chief of the Journal of Experimental Botany. Christine is also a member of the SEB Plant Sections Committee and the SEB Council.