Binarization method for chromosomal analysis of primitive plants: the case of Zamia tolimensis and Zamia huilensis (Cycadales, Zamiaceae)
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Cytogenetic studies of plants allow integration with taxonomic and systematic data for the formulation of conservation strategies. However, traditional methods of microscopy image analysis for chromosome observation and identification are inefficient in species considered primitive and with critically endangered wild populations. For this reason, the objective of this work is to establish an image processing method that will facilitate the distinction of chromosomes in Zamia tolimensis and Zamia huilensis plants endemic to Colombia. For this purpose, metaphase plates and photographs of both species were acquired under the microscope, which was superimposed and their contrast adjusted, to obtain a composite image with species-specific dispositions and transparencies. The proposed technique, based on thresholding techniques, allows a better analysis of the images obtained. Thus, the delimited areas of chromosomes in the binarized images were shown with greater precision for the counting and measurement of genetic structures, with a total of 27 and 26 chromosomes in Z. tolimensis and Z. huilensis, respectively. The technique complements and simplifies the counting and interpretation of plant genetic information obtained by classical computational methods.