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In this paper, we present two new algorithms for cell image segmentation. First, we demonstrate that pixel classification-based color image segmentation in color space is equivalent to performing segmentation on grayscale image through thresholding. Based on this result, we develop a supervised learning-based two-step procedure for color cell image segmentation, where color image is first mapped to grayscale via a transform learned through supervised learning, thresholding is then performed on the grayscale image to segment objects out of background. Experimental results show that the supervised learning-based two-step procedure achieved a boundary disagreement (mean absolute distance) of 0.85 while the disagreement produced by the pixel classification-based color image segmentation method is 3.59. Second, we develop a new marker detection algorithm for watershed-based separation of overlapping or touching cells. The merit of the new algorithm is that it employs both photometric and shape information and combines the two naturally in the framework of pattern classification to provide more reliable markers. Extensive experiments show that the new marker detection algorithm achieved 0.4% and 0.2% over-segmentation and under-segmentation, respectively, while reconstruction-based method produced 4.4% and 1.1% over-segmentation and under-segmentation, respectively.