Bridging the Genotype to Phenotype Gap: Uncovering root anatomical, architectural and field traits.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Biosciences


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.


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Adu M (2016) Effects of rooting media on root growth and morphology of Brassica rapa seedlings in South African Journal of Plant and Soil

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Atkinson J (2017) Ears, shoots and leaves. in Nature plants

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Atkinson JA (2017) An Updated Protocol for High Throughput Plant Tissue Sectioning. in Frontiers in plant science

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Atkinson JA (2019) Uncovering the hidden half of plants using new advances in root phenotyping. in Current opinion in biotechnology

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Atkinson JA (2015) Phenotyping pipeline reveals major seedling root growth QTL in hexaploid wheat. in Journal of experimental botany

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Banda J (2019) Lateral Root Formation in Arabidopsis: A Well-Ordered LRexit. in Trends in plant science

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Bao Y (2014) Plant roots use a patterning mechanism to position lateral root branches toward available water. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Description Relating the genetic make-up (genotype) to the shape and function (phenotype) of plants represents the major challenge to researchers over the next decade. Advances in plant phenotyping promise to 'bridge this gap'.
• The USPA would promote the exchange of staff, expertise and facilities between the top US and UK labs pioneering the area of root phenotyping
• US researchers gain access to the state-of-art microCT facility at Nottingham to non-invasively image root architecture in soil in 3/4D (see image below)
• UK researchers gain access to the newly established, Laser Ablation Tomography system at Penn State uniquely able to image root anatomy in 3D
Exploitation Route Academic route: our findings have obvious educational and agricultural value.

Non-academic route: Our discovery provides the basis for researchers to design new strategies to manipulate plant growth and development
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Environment

Description Our program of UK-US staff exchanges, research workshops and training events involve sharing phenotyping expertise, datasets, software and access to state-of-the-art root imaging facilities.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Environment
Impact Types Economic

Description DEEPER
Amount $7,000,000 (USD)
Funding ID DE-AR0000821 
Organisation U.S. Department of Energy 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 07/2017 
End 07/2021
Description Penn State University / University of Nottingham 
Organisation Penn State University
Department Department of Plant Science
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The University of Nottingham team have pioneered research on root development and non-invasive imaging of root architecture using X-ray microCT. The team have recently built a state-of-the-art root phenotyping platform (called the Hounsfield Facility after the Nottingham born Nobel prize winning inventor of CT, Sir Godfrey Hounsfield). The UK team provide expertise in molecular genetics, developmental biology and imaging of crop roots.
Collaborator Contribution The Penn State University (PSU) team have pioneered research on field phenotyping of crop root architecture and anatomy. The PSU team have recently developed a state-of-the-art root phenotyping approach termed Laser Ablation Tomography (LAT). The PSU partner contribute expertise in crop root architecture and anatomical traits using their 'shovelomics' and 'anatomics' phenotyping pipelines and facilities.
Impact The international partnering award between University of Nottingham (UoN) and US collaborators at Penn State University (PSU) has proved extremely productive. Highlights arising as a result our partnering award during the past 4 years include: 1. >20 student-staff exchanges between the UK & US teams* 2. 3 research workshops and scientific meetings relating to root phenotyping* 3. Major US and UK research awards include A. A joint $7 million ARPA-E research grant entitled DEEPER* B. An International Newton Award to UK, US & Asian partners* C. Joint equipment development (resulting in a BBSRC ALERT17 equipment award Grant Ref: BB/R013748/1)* 4. >10 co-authored papers/manuscripts published, in press, submitted or in preparation to high impact journals* (including Current Biology, New Phytologist and Nature Communications) 5. Staff secondments (Professor Jonathan Lynch has a 20% appointment at UoN) 6. Visit to UoN by PSU Senior Management (Feb 2018) to discuss strategic research opportunities between our Institutions. *Denotes interdisciplinary outputs involving maths, plant, crop, soil and computer sciences.
Start Year 2014
Description SUMOcode: deciphering how SUMOylation enables plants to adapt to their environment (BB/V003534/1) 
Organisation Durham University
Department School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Plant Cell Biology, imaging and phenotyping
Collaborator Contribution Durham brings SUMO expertise complementing our own organisation's plant cell biology and phenotyping expertise
Impact sLOLA award just started
Start Year 2021