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Outreach

This website serves as a hub for organizing and hosting training materials for the PhenoApps project.

Challenge

Food and nutritional security is the grand challenge for the coming decades.  The global population will increase to over 9 billion and food demand will grow by more than 50%.  To address this challenge, novel advancements to leverage genomic information and expedite the improvement of plant varieties are needed. While genomic information has become inexpensive and readily available, the complementary phenotypes needed to understand the function of plant genomes and make selections in breeding programs has remained static, with insufficient development, particularly for phenotypes collected from field trials in breeding programs.

Opportunity

PhenoApps will converge novel advances in image processing and machine vision to deliver transformative mobile applications through established breeder networks.  Field Book, the first user-friendly field-based phenotyping app, has been successfully deployed in breeding programs around the world. Building off that success, novel image analysis algorithms and apps will be developed to model and extract plant phenotypes. These innovative tools can be rapidly deployed through readily available and highly penetrant mobile technology.  This approach will enable rapid dissemination and broad usability.

To ensure both immediate, broad deployment and functionality on a diverse set of crops, breeder networks for cassava and wheat have been engaged, providing a diverse set of target plant phenotypes, environments, breeding programs and working cultures. Collectively equipping thousands of breeders around the world with tools for rapid collection, processing and analysis of complex phenotypes will provide the foundation for increasing genetic gain that will ultimately result in improved productivity, food security, nutrition, and income of smallholder farmers and their families in developing countries.

Funding

The PhenoApps project originally began as a small grant from the McKnight Foundation targeting breeding programs in East Africa. Current support is through NSF BREAD IOS-1543958.