Tapping Into the Rubber Plant Genome
News Feb 07, 2013
A group of international scientists has sequenced the draft genome sequence of the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis, the major commercial source of natural rubber. The manuscript describing the draft genome is published in BMC Genomics.
Scientists have sequenced the draft genome sequence of the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis, the major commercial source of natural rubber. Rubber is an indispensible commodity that is used in manufacture worldwide, billions dollar industry. The plant has played a vital role in the world economy since 1876. Currently Asia accounts for about 93% of global supply of rubber.
The manuscript describing the draft genome is published in BMC Genomics. The team identify around 12.7% of the almost 70,000 genes as unique, and outline those associated with rubber biosynthesis, rubber wood formation, disease resistance and allergenicity.
The rubber industry is affected by rubber blight -- a fungal disease -- and natural rubber allergenicity, a global medical concern for those repeatedly exposed to latex-containing products (e.g., gloves).
Ahmad Yamin Rahman and colleagues believe that this draft genome information will accelerate the development of high-yielding natural rubber plants. This will lead to assistance in latex production, wood development, disease resistance and allergenicity.
Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and the loss of genetic diversity are the main factors driving the extinction of many wild species, and the few eastern massasauga rattlesnakes remaining in Illinois have certainly suffered two of the three. A long-term study of these snakes reveals, however, that – despite their alarming decline in numbers – they have retained a surprising amount of genetic diversity.READ MORE