A High Throughput Robot System for Plant Phenotype Studies
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A robotic gantry system that uses visual servoing to find and monitor the growth of numerous seedlings has been developed to facilitate plant phenotype studies. Research in the area of gene sequencing have reached levels of maturity where entire genomes have been sequenced and genes can be marked with relative ease and speed. However techniques for defining phenotypes quantitatively are needed because studies require observations from numerous plants for each mutant type and there are roughly 10^4 genes and corresponding mutants per model organism.
Machine vision has been used for monitoring individual plant growth and identifying these phenotypes. Incorporating a robot system with machine vision enables the monitoring of many plants concurrently, increasing the throughput of the phenotype studies. An overview of our system will be presented, describing some of the necessary capabilities and challenges to automating plant phenotype studies. Results of initial data collected u sing the system for gravitropic response of a model organism, Arabidopsis thalia, will be presented.