The plant phenomics facility is closely linked to both chemical phenotyping and genotyping facilities in Aberystwyth. Plants will are delivered on the conveyor system to a work station where samples can be sampled destructively for DNA, RNA, Proteome or Metabolome analysis.
An important component is the glasshouse complex (“the climate change facility”) that is part of the phenomics facility. This glasshouse includes compartments which will enable plants to be grown in carefully controlled conditions that will mimic those likely under potential climate change scenarios (e.g. temperature, elevated CO2). This glasshouse provides a facility for analysing the effect of environment on the growth of a range of plant species and/or an experimental area where plants can be maintained prior to being loaded onto the scanning system.
The Aberystwyth Plant Phenomics facility interacts with an international consortium of laboratories intent on developing novel approaches to help close the genotype-phenotype gap and facilitate the identification and characterisation of many genes underlying important quantitative traits. It provides the UK with a world class plants phenomics facility which complements and links closely with the world-class UK genomics centre established at the John Innes Institute and with Plant Systems Biology Centres with institutional expertise in agriculture, horticulture and plant breeding in Warwick and Nottingham Universities.
The facility will also accelerate the selection of appropriate germplasm for breeding varieties which will perform robustly under the conditions predicted for the UK and beyond in the future. Furthermore, it will provide a focus for trans-disciplinary research to facilitate the discovery of the genetic and environmental bases for variation in complex traits that underpin the major global challenges for food and energy security, water utilization and adaptation to a changing climate.