Recent methodological developments in plant phenotyping, as well as the growing importance of its applications in plant science and breeding, are resulting in a fast accumulation of multidimensional data. There is great potential for expediting both discovery and application if these data are made publicly available for analysis. However, collection and storage of phenotypic observations is not yet sufficiently governed by standards that would ensure interoperability among data providers and precisely link specific phenotypes and associated genomic sequence information. This lack of standards is mainly a result of a large variability of phenotyping protocols, the multitude of phenotypic traits that are measured, and the dependence of these traits on the environment. This paper discusses the current situation of standardization in the area of phenomics, points out the problems and shortages, and presents the areas that would benefit from improvement in this field. In addition, the foundations of the work that could revise the situation are proposed, and practical solutions developed by the authors are introduced.
School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University
Nanjing 210023, China