New Teaching Tool: Root Phenomics

Meet the newest member of the Teaching Tools in Plant Biology family, Phenomics of root system architecture: Measuring and analyzing root phenes -By Larry York and Guillaume Lobet.

This teaching tool discusses the relatively young field of root system architecture quantification. It introduces the concepts of phenes (like genes, but referring to the phenotype), and architectural concepts including morphology, geometry, and topology. It concludes by discussing the practical considerations linked to the root system architecture quantification (including growth and sampling methods), and different data analysis methods.

Author Guillaume Lobet [Associate Professor, Agrosphere Forschungszentrum (Jülich, Germany), and Earth and Life Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) @guillaumelobet]  writes about the motivation for creating this teaching tool.  “Root system are fascinating to study, but also quite challenging. Several steps need to be carefully considered, from the type of data you want to acquire, to the experimental setup and the analysis tools, which can make the whole story difficult. We wanted to offers a clear introduction to all these steps, so future researchers will find their way more easily and, hopefully, get more out of their root research.

Author Larry York [Assistant Professor, at the Noble Research Institute (Ardmore, Oklahoma) @LarryMattYork] provides a perspective on the field of plant phenomics and the authors’ desire to create this teaching tool. “Plant phenomics is a quickly growing field of biology that integrates new sensor technologies and software to measure 10s, 100s, or 1000s of plants. Root biology, especially, is benefitting greatly from these advances to aid the study of these complex organs. We believe the current and next generation of scientists need a profound appreciation for what phenomics can do, so we’ve released these teaching tools to inspire all of us to learn more.”

Personally, I’m very pleased to have been able to help get this exciting new Teaching Tool developed by Guillaume and Larry to fruition. I’m always happy to speak to authors interested in creating a Teaching Tool, so if you have a topic that you think we should include in this series, drop me a line at