Categories: methods, resource
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Published on: November 6, 2012
Fig. 4 from Nieuwland et al. (2012), showing the Phytotracker labels

If you have ever been frustrated by a less than clearly labeled seed stock, not knowing what the green and yellow dots mean, how long its been in that drawer, or which generation it is, GARNet Chair Jim Murray’s lab in Cardiff have worked out a system that will help.

Phytotracker is a system that organizes your seeds for you. Of course it depends on people recording the tray number and parent lines in the database, and correctly labeling the seed stocks and plasmids in the lab. However, once you’ve done that, you can forget about it because Phytotracker does the remembering for you – everything from which plasmid was used for the transformation to when to harvest the seeds.

The system is well explained in the paper, which was published in Plant Methods in October. If you want to try the system out, you’ll need Filemaker Pro (version 8 or later), or for a fully networked solution Filemaker Pro Advanced (version 8 or later: currently Filemaker Pro is version 12). Your University may already have a site licence! You’ll also need printers in your growth rooms and labs to print labels for the trays, plants, and seed stocks. Commitment from everyone in your group is essential – this system would fall apart if you have a regenade group member who insists on labeling with autoclave tape and a Sharpie. It has been successfully used in Cardiff for five years though, so it looks like a system that is worth committing to.

Highlighted article: Jeroen Nieuwland, Emily Sornay, Angela Marchbank, Barend HJ de Graaf, James AH Murray (2012) Phytotracker, an information management system for easy recording and tracking of plants, seeds and plasmids. Plant Methods 8:43

Download Phytotracker here:


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