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New software quantifies leaf venation networks, enables plant biology advances
Date:1/13/2011

and position of all non-vein areas, called areoles.

"The network extraction algorithms in LEAF GUI enable users with no technical expertise in image analysis to quantify the geometry of entire leaf networks -- overcoming what was previously a difficult task due to the size and complexity of leaf venation patterns," said the paper's lead author Charles Price, who worked on the project as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech. Price is now an assistant professor of plant biology at the University of Western Australia.

While the Georgia Tech research team is currently using the software to extract network and areole information from leaves imaged under a wide range of conditions, LEAF GUI could also be used for other purposes, such as leaf classification and description.

"Because the software and the underlying code are freely available, other investigators have the option of modifying methods as necessary to answer specific questions or improve upon current approaches," said Price.

LEAF GUI is not the only software program Weitz's group has developed to investigate the network characteristics of plants. In March 2010, Weitz's group co-authored another "Breakthrough Technologies" paper in Plant Physiology detailing a way to analyze the complex root network structure of crop plants, with a focus on rice.

This work was performed in collaboration with Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi, John Harer and Philip Benfey at Duke University and was supported by DARPA, the National Science Foundation and the Burroughs Welcome Fund.

"Both of these software programs are enabling tools in the growing field of 'plant phenomics,' which aims to correlate gene function, plant performance and response to the environment," noted Weitz. "By identifying leaf vein characteristics and root structures that differ between plants, we are enabling advances in basic plant science and, in the case of crop plants, assisting researchers in identifyin
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Contact: Abby Robinson
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
40-438-503-364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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