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The geometry of leaf margins is an important shape characteristic that distinguishes among different leaf phenotypes. Current definitions of leaf shape are qualitative and do not allow quantification of differences in shape between phenotypes. This is especially true for leaves with some non-trivial three-dimensional (3D) configurations. Here we present a novel geometrical method novel geometrical methods to define, measure, and quantify waviness and lobiness of leaves. The method is based on obtaining the curve of the leaf rim from a 3D surface measurement and decomposing its local curvature vector into the normal and geodesic components. We suggest that leaf waviness is associated with oscillating normal curvature along the margins, while lobiness is associated with oscillating geodesic curvature. We provide a way to integrate these local measures into global waviness and lobiness quantities. Using these novel definitions, we analysed the changes in leaf shape of two Arabidopsis genotypes, either as a function of gene mis-expression induction level or as a function of time. These definitions and experimental methods open the way for a more quantitative study of the shape of leaves and other growing slender organs.


Shahaf Armon, Osnat Yanai, Naomi Ori, Eran Sharon. Quantitative phenotyping of leaf margins in three dimensions, demonstrated on KNOTTED and TCP trangenics in Arabidopsis. Journal of experimental botany. 2014 May;65(8):2071-7

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PMID: 24706720

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