Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Software Quantifies Leaf Vein Networks, Enables Plant Biology Advances

17.01.2011
Plant biologists are facing pressure to quantify the response of plants to changing environments and to breed plants that can respond to such changes. One method of monitoring the response of plants to different environments is by studying their vein network patterns.

These networks impact whole plant photosynthesis and the mechanical properties of leaves, and vary between species that have evolved or have been bred under different environmental conditions.

To help address the challenge of how to quickly examine a large quantity of leaves, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a user-assisted software tool that extracts macroscopic vein structures directly from leaf images.

“The software can be used to help identify genes responsible for key leaf venation network traits and to test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses regarding the structure and function of leaf venation networks,” said Joshua Weitz, an assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Biology.

The program, called Leaf Extraction and Analysis Framework Graphical User Interface (LEAF GUI), enables scientists and breeders to measure the properties of thousands of veins much more quickly than manual image analysis tools.

Details of the LEAF GUI software program were published in the “Breakthrough Technologies” section of the January issue of the journal Plant Physiology. Development of the software, which is available for download at www.leafgui.org, was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Burroughs Welcome Fund.

LEAF GUI is a user-assisted software tool that takes an image of a leaf and, following a series of interactive steps to clean up the image, returns information on the structure of that leaf’s vein networks. Structural measurements include the dimensions, position and connectivity of all network veins, and the dimensions, shape and position of all non-vein areas, called areoles.

“The network extraction algorithms in LEAF GUI enable users with no technical expertise in image analysis to quantify the geometry of entire leaf networks -- overcoming what was previously a difficult task due to the size and complexity of leaf venation patterns,” said the paper’s lead author Charles Price, who worked on the project as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech. Price is now an assistant professor of plant biology at the University of Western Australia.

While the Georgia Tech research team is currently using the software to extract network and areole information from leaves imaged under a wide range of conditions, LEAF GUI could also be used for other purposes, such as leaf classification and description.

“Because the software and the underlying code are freely available, other investigators have the option of modifying methods as necessary to answer specific questions or improve upon current approaches,” said Price.

LEAF GUI is not the only software program Weitz’s group has developed to investigate the network characteristics of plants. In March 2010, Weitz’s group co-authored another “Breakthrough Technologies” paper in Plant Physiology detailing a way to analyze the complex root network structure of crop plants, with a focus on rice.

This work was performed in collaboration with Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi, John Harer and Philip Benfey at Duke University and was supported by DARPA, the National Science Foundation and the Burroughs Welcome Fund.

“Both of these software programs are enabling tools in the growing field of ‘plant phenomics,’ which aims to correlate gene function, plant performance and response to the environment,” noted Weitz. “By identifying leaf vein characteristics and root structures that differ between plants, we are enabling advances in basic plant science and, in the case of crop plants, assisting researchers in identifying and potentially altering genes to improve plant health, yield and survival.”

In addition to those already mentioned, Olga Symonova, Yuriy Mileyko and Troy Hilley also contributed to this work at Georgia Tech.

These projects were supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) (Award No. HR0011-05-1-0057), National Science Foundation (NSF Plant Genome Research Program Award Nos. 0606873 and 0820624) and Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigator and does not necessarily represent the official views of DARPA, NSF or BWF.

Abby Robinson | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ambush in a petri dish
24.11.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>