Biotech Updates

New Imaging System Helps Plant Geneticists Improve Crops

October 15, 2014

Plant scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Penn State University developed an automated imaging technique to measure and analyze the root systems of mature plants. The imaging and software will provide geneticists the statistical information they need to search for genes with the best characteristics.

The technique involves the use of digital photography to provide detailed image of roots from mature plants in the field. The resulting images are uploaded to a server running software that analyzes the root systems for more than 30 different parameters – such as the diameter of tap roots, root density, the angles of brace roots, and detailed measures of lateral roots. Scientists working in the field can upload their images at the end of a day and have spreadsheets of results ready for analysis the following day.

Aside from enhancing food crops, the new technique could also pave the way for improvement of plants for energy production, materials, and other purposes. 

Read the original article at