A new system for identifying plants in appearance

In the picture, the leaves of a plant are examined with a spectrometer. Photo: Dawson White, Chicago Field Museum

Chicago: Plants belonging to two different populations of the same species are usually so similar that DNA testing is necessary to identify them. But now with a hand tool, this task can be done quickly, easily and in less time.

To do so, his team, led by Dawson White, a scientist at the Chicago Field Museum, surveyed two separate populations of the genetically distinct perennial perennial tree, Darius Stansky, of the University of Maine. It took a long time. That is, plant samples were first collected from two different locations and each was subjected to DNA testing in a laboratory, a process that took weeks.

In addition, all the plants that underwent DNA testing were viewed with a manual instrument called a ‘spectrometer’. This device emits light on the leaves and monitors the wavelength of the light returning from there. Experts were surprised that the machine immediately identified separately.

Interestingly, the two plants look alike and their separation was confirmed by genetic analysis. In this way, botanists can instantly distinguish between two identical plants at any time. This process is faster and much cheaper than genetic testing, which can speed up research on plants.

Experts believe that this entire system could be used to drone plants to identify plants in remote areas, difficult trails and mountains, accelerating botanical research. The study is published in the Journal of Neophytology.

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