Smith K, Piccinini F, Balassa T, Koos K, Danka T, Azizpour H, Horvath P
Cell Systems 6 (6) 636-653 [2018-06-27; online 2018-06-29]
Phenotypic image analysis is the task of recognizing variations in cell properties using microscopic image data. These variations, produced through a complex web of interactions between genes and the environment, may hold the key to uncover important biological phenomena or to understand the response to a drug candidate. Today, phenotypic analysis is rarely performed completely by hand. The abundance of high-dimensional image data produced by modern high-throughput microscopes necessitates computational solutions. Over the past decade, a number of software tools have been developed to address this need. They use statistical learning methods to infer relationships between a cell's phenotype and data from the image. In this review, we examine the strengths and weaknesses of non-commercial phenotypic image analysis software, cover recent developments in the field, identify challenges, and give a perspective on future possibilities.