Image-based methods for phenotyping growth dynamics and fitness components in Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant methods 2018
François Vasseur, Justine Bresson, George Wang, Rebecca Schwab, Detlef Weigel

We developed two models to predict plant dry mass and fruit number from the parameters extracted with the analysis of rosette and inflorescence images. Predictive models were trained by sacrificing growing individuals for dry mass estimation, and manually measuring a fraction of individuals for fruit number at maturity. Using a cross-validation approach, we showed that quantitative parameters extracted from image analysis predicts more 90% of both plant dry mass and fruit number. When used on 451 natural accessions, the method allowed modeling growth dynamics, including relative growth rate, throughout the life cycle of various ecotypes. Estimated growth-related traits had high heritability (0.65 < H2 < 0.93), as well as estimated fruit number (H2 = 0.68). In addition, we validated the method for estimating fruit number with rev5, a mutant with increased flower abortion.

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