MSU researchers build global plant science network

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David Kramer, MSU Hannah Distinguished Professor in Photosynthesis and Bioenergetics, has created the Facebook of plant science. (view larger image)

Researchers from Michigan State University (MSU), led by MSU AgBioResearch biochemist David Kramer’s lab, have developed a handheld device that can scan plants and upload the data to an online sharing and analysis platform. The device, called PhotosynQ, takes advantage of the trail blazed by successful social media networks by allowing both academic and citizen scientists to engage with the latest plant science data.

“We’ve built a platform that everyone can access through their cell phones,” Kramer, MSU Hannah Distinguished Professor in Photosynthesis and Bioenergetics, said. “We want to create a community that sees a 12-year-old student in China ask a question about a drought-resistant plant. Then we hope that hundreds of people answer, and not only the student in China is able to grow sustainable crops, but also a farmer in Africa could benefit from those insights.”

Currently, 20 research projects are utilizing the network, ranging from measuring the robustness and productivity of beans to monitoring the efficiency of photosynthesis. Its open source, accessible nature has the potential to revolutionize how scientific data is collected and analyzed.

For the full story, please visit MSU Today.

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