Review. Review. Functional phenomics: An emerging field integrating high-throughput phenotyping, physiology, and bioinformatics (J. Exp. Bot)

Understanding the processes contributing to plant productivity will help to secure food production in the future. Larry York proposes how this can be achieved using functional phenomics. First the ideotype needs to be constructed; the ideotype is a set of phene states that are hypothesized to enhance plant performance in a given environment. The ideotype determines the phenotyping platform to be used, which not only measures the phene state but also traits related to general plant performance such as plant biomass, and nutrient or water status. The selected phenes and indicators of overall plant performance can be subsequently studied in mapping populations, revealing relationships between phene and genetic loci. The multivariate approach helps to unlock the power of functional phenomics, revealing the relationship between the phene and function. Before the phene can be recommended as a target in breeding programs, it is necessary to functionally validate the contribution of the phene to plant performance by using, for example, molecular breeding techniques. (Summary by Magdalena Julkowska) J. Exp. Bot 10.1093/jxb/ery379