FlowerMorphology: fully automatic flower morphometry software
The software FlowerMorphology is designed for automatic morphometry of actinomorphic flowers. The novel complex parameters of flowers calculated by FlowerMorphology allowed us to quantitatively characterize a polyploid series of tobacco.
Morphological differences of plants representing closely related lineages or mutants are mostly quantitative. Very often, there are only very fine variations in plant morphology. Therefore, accurate and high-throughput methods are needed for their quantification. In addition, new characteristics are necessary for reliable detection of subtle changes in morphology. FlowerMorphology is an all-in-one software package to automatically image and analyze five-petal actinomorphic flowers of the dicotyledonous plants. Sixteen directly measured parameters and ten calculated complex parameters of a flower allow us to characterize variations with high accuracy. The program was developed for the needs of automatic characterization of Nicotiana tabacum flowers, but is applicable to many other plants with five-petal actinomorphic flowers and can be adopted for flowers of other merosity. A genetically similar polyploid series of N. tabacum plants was used to investigate differences in flower morphology. For the first time, we could quantify the dependence between ploidy and size and form of the tobacco flowers. We found that the radius of inner petal incisions shows a persistent positive correlation with the chromosome number. In contrast, a commonly used parameter—radius of outer corolla—does not discriminate 2n and 4n plants. Other parameters show that polyploidy leads to significant aberrations in flower symmetry and are also positively correlated with chromosome number. Executables of FlowerMorphology, source code, documentation, and examples are available at the program website: https://github.com/Deyneko/FlowerMorphology.
KeywordsAutomatic image acquisition and analysis Flower morphology Flower shape Flower symmetry
Center of a circle around external vertices
Center of a circle around internal vertices
Center of a circle around a corolla tube
Radius of a circle around external vertices
Radius of a circle around internal vertices
Radius of a circle around a corolla tube
Area of a corolla tube
Geometrical asymmetry of (petal) incisions
This work has been supported by the program of SB RAS № 0324-2018-0017. The authors are grateful to A. Zagorskaya, Y. Sidorchuk, and S. Mursalimov for providing the polyploid series of N. tabacum, to F. Pessler for editing the manuscript and to one of the reviewers for thorough proofreading and valuable suggestions.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Availability of data and material
Executables, source code, documentation, and examples are available at the program website: https://github.com/Deyneko/FlowerMorphology.
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