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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Plant Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #381921

Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Cropping Systems of Alfalfa for Livestock Utilization, Environmental Protection and Soil Health

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Real-time live phenotyping-A path to next generation breeding and farming

item Xu, Zhanyou
item Jeo, Richard - Ted
item Samac, Deborah - Debby
item RAMOS-GIRALDO, PAULA - North Carolina State University
item REBERG-HORTON, CHRIS - North Carolina State University
item Mirsky, Steven

Submitted to: Forage Focus
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/23/2021
Publication Date: 3/1/2021
Citation: Xu, Z., Jeo, R.T., Samac, D.A., Ramos-Giraldo, P., Reberg-Horton, C., Mirsky, S.B. 2021. Real-time live phenotyping-A path to next generation breeding and farming. Forage Focus. (March 2021):14-15.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Monitoring plants 24-hours a day in real-time to identify crop problems early on can make the difference between saving a crop and losing it. An interdisciplinary team of scientists, geneticists from the Plant Science Research Unit of the USDA-ARS in St. Paul, MN with researchers at North Carolina State University in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and scientists in the Precision Sustainable Agriculture (PSA) project, are developing a real-time phenotyping system to remotely monitor alfalfa growth through all four seasons. There are an extensive number of traits that must be measured to understand which specific traits contribute to improvements in alfalfa yield, yield stability, resource capture and use, and resistance to abiotic or biotic stresses. For breeders, real-time live phenotyping can measure these traits hundreds of times during the growing season. Combined with genetic information this will allow breeders to identify regions of the genome controlling traits and help them make more informed decisions in selecting plants for cultivar development. Real-time phenotyping will be even more critical for breeding for cold tolerance in alfalfa. Breeders will be able to phenotype plants as they break dormancy and AI-based live phenotyping can detect plant responses invisible to human eyes. Live images from the StressCam in Spring 2021 will measure early growth from experimental plots with different amounts of stubble and number of plants. A larger experiment will be deployed in Fall 2021. The low cost of the system makes it feasible to expand it on a large scale for breeding experiments and in commercial farmland.