Kara, a well-known geneticist, has studied genomic and phenomic interactions through her research. The value of genomics is expensive considering its definite nature and limitless capabilities of contributing to the unraveling of complex biological mysteries. Whole-genome sequencing of species have continued to build in public databases as the cost of sequencing has lessened and bioinformatic tools have continued to be developed. Phenomics, the study of the total phenotype of an organism, is far less clear-cut. It cannot have set boundaries due to the constant changes of environmental effects.
Measuring only a few essential phenotypes and their correlation to genomic polymorphisms does not accurately represent how the phenotypes are expressed. Individual measurement of biomass production, CO2 utilization, O2 emission, or H2O release are not ideal parameters to represent photosynthetic efficiency as they do not account for changes that can occur during photosynthesis. Plant tissues are extremely variable across even a single leaf. Since a few phenotypes cannot be used to describe the complexity and diversity of photosynthesis across a plant and population, this type of evaluation demands spot-to-spot comprehensive measurements.
This type of measuring was a challenge to Kara until she discovered PhotosynQ. With this hand held instrument, Kara can capture almost all aspects of the biochemical process of photosynthesis as it relates to a plant’s environment within 15-20 seconds. As photosynthesis is the driving metabolic process in plants, our ability to measure ‘photosynthesis phenome’ is undoubtedly important. Kara can use this technology for real-time measurements and perform GWAS analysis to see the effects of different loci and SNPs on photosynthesis. She will be able to make remarkable strides in determining the phenomics of photosynthesis. The ‘photosynthesis phenome’ will grow for many species around the world enabling us to understand photosynthesis further and use it for our benefit.