About this Research Topic
Molecular phenotyping, i.e., obtaining metabolite, protein and transcript profiles, of plants is critically important to obtain mechanistic understanding of the metabolic and regulatory machinery that underpins agronomic traits such as biomass accumulation for food, feed and fuel, and tolerance to environmental perturbations, such as drought. As such, molecular phenotyping is a necessary complement to the large amount of physiological data coming off stream from large-scale whole-plant phenotyping platforms. With recent advances in metabolite and protein profiling, we are in a strong position to bridge the gap between genomic information and phenotypic expression of emergent properties at the organismal or field-plot level. We need to urgently apply this gained expertise to address two major and interconnected challenges; to substantially enhance crop yield for the coming decades, and to mitigate global warming from rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Crop varieties that allow for an increased allocation of assimilated carbon to reach the soil touch on both of these challenges as soil carbon is imperative for soil health and, hence, plant productivity, and since soil can serve as a carbon sink for draw-down of atmospheric CO2. The quintessential question then becomes if we can leverage our combined knowledge in plant molecular phenotyping to simultaneously optimize crop yield and soil carbon deposition, for any given field and climate scenario.
To demonstrate the cutting edge in plant molecular phenotyping as a tool for rational crop design, we welcome submissions of manuscripts in areas that include, but are not limited to, the following topics.
• Explore plant genotypic diversity in molecular profiling to examine how genomic information in plants is transmitted via metabolic and regulatory networks to phenotypic expression of agronomic traits such as biomass accumulation, drought tolerance and carbon allocation.
• Exploration of plant genotypic diversity for molecular phenotypes to identify metabolic and regulatory processes that underpin agronomic traits.
• Integration of molecular and heterogeneous data sets to inform how data at the molecular level be used to predict and explain behavior at higher integrative levels. For example, how can metabolite or protein profiles be used as predictors for emergent properties at the plant-system level.
• Characterization of sugar signaling and other metabolic and regulatory processes to redesign source-sink communications in plant systems for increased crop yield and soil carbon storage.
Keywords: Phenotyping, Metabolites, Crops, Breeding, Natural variation, Molecular profiling
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.