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 Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>