Employees of NSU and ICG SB RAS, together with students, applied computer vision methods for automatic phenotyping of the ear morphology of wheat species

Intraspecific classification of cultivated plants is necessary for the effective support of biological diversity, the study of their origin, phylogeny, and interspecific hybridization in breeding. The modern cultivated wheat species evolved from three wild diploid ancestors as a result of hybridization and several rounds of genome doubling and represented by di-, tetra- and hexaploid species. Therefore, identification of wheat ploidy and determination of their genomic composition is one of the main stages of their classification based on visual analysis of the phenotypic traits of an ear.

The project 7.1 team, within the framework of the First Workshop of the Mathematical Center in Akademgorodok, published a paper, describing the results of immersive testing of the hypothesis about the possibility of determining the ploidy of wheat using computer vision methods, only on the basis of the image of an ear.

Mikhail Genaev, the curator of the project "Analysis of a wheat ear using computer vision techniques. Determination of ploidy”, Senior Researcher at Laboratory of Evolutionary Bioinformatics and Theoretical Genetics of Kurchatov Genomic Center of ICG SB RAS, summarizes:

We were able to show that the morphological characteristics of ears for hexa- and tetraproid species obtained by means of computer analysis of images can be used in the development of methods for classification by ploidy and their species in an automatic mode. Work within the workshop is a good example of how a team of five students and two curators can solve an urgent biological problem and get new scientific results within a few weeks.

Nikita Prokhoshin, an engineer of the Mathematical Center in Akademgorodok, student of masters program of the Department of Mechanics and Mathematics of NSU, notes:

Working on a project within the framework of the workshop made it possible not only to immerse myself in the process of solving an applied problem in a new area for me, but also to develop the ability to work in a team and present intermediate results. An interesting task, competently posed by the project curators, and an intensive work format prepared by the organizers of the workshop, allowed our group to make significant progress in solving in a relatively short period of time.

The article "Automatic phenotyping of the ear morphology of tetra- and hexaploid wheat species received computer vision methods" is one of the first works describing the results that project teams received in the framework of the First MCA workshop.

Igor Marchuk, the dean of the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics, a leading scientist of MCA, comments:

The conducted research and its result in the form of publication in a respected journal indicate that the new principle of organizing research and educational activities implemented by the Mathematical Center in Akademgorodok really ensures the speed of entry into the interdisciplinary field and obtaining significant results. I am very glad that we are implementing this activity together with leading groups, including the Kurchatov Genomic Center of ICG SB  RAS. More and more young researchers are working within the framework of the Great Mathematical Workshop — a large-scale successor of the First MCA Workshop. Even more young researchers will be able to dive into interesting projects and get outstanding results.