Phenomics for photosynthesis, growth and reflectance in Arabidopsis thaliana reveals circadian and long-term fluctuations in heritability

P.J. Flood, Willem Kruijer, S.K. Schnabel, Rob Schoor, Henk Jalink, J.F.H. Snel, Jeremy Harbinson, M.G.M. Aarts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Recent advances in genome sequencing technologies have shifted the research bottleneck in plant sciences from genotyping to phenotyping. This shift has driven the development of phenomics, high-throughput non-invasive phenotyping technologies. Results: We describe an automated high-throughput phenotyping platform, the Phenovator, capable of screening 1440 Arabidopsis plants multiple times per day for photosynthesis, growth and spectral reflectance at eight wavelengths. Using this unprecedented phenotyping capacity, we have been able to detect significant genetic differences between Arabidopsis accessions for all traits measured, across both temporal and environmental scales. The high frequency of measurement allowed us to observe that heritability was not only trait specific, but for some traits was also time specific. Conclusions: Such continuous real-time non-destructive phenotyping will allow detailed genetic and physiological investigations of the kinetics of plant homeostasis and development. The success and ultimate outcome of a breeding program will depend greatly on the genetic variance which is sampled. Our observation of temporal fluctuations in trait heritability shows that the moment of measurement can have lasting consequences. Ultimately such phenomic level technologies will provide more dynamic insights into plant physiology, and the necessary data for the omics revolution to reach its full potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalPlant Methods
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Heritability
  • High throughput screening
  • Natural variation
  • Phenomics
  • Photosynthesis

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