Optimizing the use of a liquid handling robot to conduct a high throughput forward chemical genetics screen of Arabidopsis Thaliana

B. K. Amos, Victoria G. Pook, Seth Debolt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chemical genetics is increasingly being employed to decode traits in plants that may be recalcitrant to traditional genetics due to gene redundancy or lethality. However, the probability of a synthetic small molecule being bioactive is low; therefore, thousands of molecules must be tested in order to find those of interest. Liquid handling robotics systems are designed to handle large numbers of samples, increasing the speed with which a chemical library can be screened in addition to minimizing/standardizing error. To achieve a high-throughput forward chemical genetics screen of a library of 50,000 small molecules on Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), protocols using a bench-top multichannel liquid handling robot were developed that require minimal technician involvement. With these protocols, 3,271 small molecules were discovered that caused visible phenotypic alterations. 1,563 compounds induced short roots, 1,148 compounds altered coloration, 383 compounds caused root hair and other, non-categorized, alterations, and 177 compounds inhibited germination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57393
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number134
StatePublished - Apr 30 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Jozsef Stork, Mitchel Richmond, Jarrad Gollihue, and Andrea Sanchez for constructive and critical discussion. Dr. Sharyn Perry for the phenotypic photographs. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement No. 1355438.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Journal of Visualized Experiments.


  • Automated screening
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical library
  • Issue 134
  • Plant growth inhibitors
  • Plant physiology
  • Small molecules
  • Synthetic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Chemical Engineering (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (all)


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