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Multiscale quantification of morphodynamics: MorphoLeaf software for 2D shape analysis

RDP Publication in Development

Published on : September 16, 2016
The different steps of the growth of an Arabidopsis thaliana leaf, from its origin to 2,5mm. Views generated by MorphoLeaf. © Patrick Laufs, Inra


A major challenge in morphometrics is to analyse complex biological shapes formed by structures at different scales. Leaves exemplify this challenge as they combine differences in their overall shape with smaller shape variations at their margin, leading to lobes or teeth.

Current methods based on contour or on landmark analysis are successful in quantifying either overall leaf shape or leaf margin dissection, but fail in combining the two. Here, we present a comprehensive strategy and its associated freely available platform for the quantitative, multiscale analysis of the morphology of leaves with different architectures. For this, biologically relevant landmarks are automatically extracted and hierarchised, and used to guide the reconstruction of accurate average contours that properly represent both global and local features.

Using this method, we establish a quantitative framework of the developmental trajectory of Arabidopsis leaves of different ranks and retrace the origin of leaf heteroblasty. When applied to different mutant forms, our method can contribute to a better understanding of gene function, as we show here for the role of CUC2 during Arabidopsis leaf serration. Finally, we illustrate the wider applicability of our tool by analysing hand morphometrics.

Common Press Release Inra - ENS de Lyon (to come)

Références : E. Biot, M. Cortizo, J. Burguet, A. Kiss, M. Oughou, A. Maugarny-Calès, B. Gonçalves, B. Adroher, P. Andrey, A. Boudaoud & P. Laufs. Multiscale quantification of morphodynamics : Morpho-2Dynamics, a platform for 2-D shape analysis. Development, Sept 13 2016. doi: 10.1242/dev.134619

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