About This Theme

Plant breeders are always looking to create better plants. They do this by selecting key traits (phenotypes) within a plant that improves its yield, and makes it more resistant to disease and stress. To discover these traits, breeders use a visual assessment process called classical phenotyping, and link this to the plant’s DNA sequence (genotype). Genotyping and phenotyping allow breeders to select plants for breeding that will have the most desirable traits in subsequent generations.

Advances in technology and computational agriculture are making it easier for researchers to discover and link these traits. New digital tools, including advanced camera systems and drones are helping researchers determine the genetic factors that make up a plant’s phenotype. Researchers have introduced a new method of phenotyping to plant breeders called digital phenotyping. This helps breeders in their classical phenotyping assessments and makes the phenotyping process more efficient.

Phenometrics, therefore, is the process of leveraging the power that precision digital phenotyping and genomics brings to more efficient crop breeding. It involves creating the best platforms and technologies to image plants both above and below ground. Once these platforms and technologies are established, they can be used in breeding programs and collaborations with agricultural partners around the world.

The following research projects are currently underway within the Phenometrics theme:

Project 1.1

Phenotype to Genotype: Moving from Model Systems to Crops

This research relates to phenotyping in a controlled indoor environment, such as a greenhouse.


Project 1.2

Crop Phenometrics Platform: Leveraging Field Phenomics for Advancing Key Rotational Crops

This research involves using in-field and aerial mobile vehicles for imaging crops, making imaging faster and more efficient.


Project 1.3

Plant Pedological Phenotype: Phenotyping the Plant Microbiome

This research is studying the different microbial communities that interact with plants and affect overall plant wellness.