Genomic Science Program
U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science | Biological and Environmental Research Program

Phenotypic Characterization of Sorghum Nitrogen Responsive Gene Edits Using High-Throughput Phenotyping


Hongyu Jin1, Alexa Nolan2, Yufeng Ge1, James C. Schnable1, Ravi V. Mural1, Thomas Clemente1, and Jinliang Yang1


1University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL); and 2University of Alabama–Huntsville



Inefficient use of inorganic nitrogen (N) fertilizers can result in environmental issues and increased farming costs. To address this issue, this project, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), aims to investigate the phenotypic and molecular effects of N treatments on a set of sorghum gene edits identified as N-responsive candidate genes through previous studies. As a pilot study, the team used UNL’s LemnaTec phenotyping facility to collect imagery data for five sorghum edits (including one triple gene edit, two double gene edits, and two single gene edits) throughout different developmental stages. The team extracted numerical phenotypic values from the images and performed statistical analyses to determine the effects of N treatment on each edit. The project’s results showed statistically significant phenotypic effects for several edits in response to N treatments. Based on these preliminary findings, the team will refine phenotypic characterization procedures and conduct additional phenotyping for other gene edits.

The outcomes of this project will contribute to the development of sustainable and efficient crop production methods, thus advancing agricultural practices in a more environmentally responsible manner.