K.N. Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, says findings may have profound impact on research aimed at improving genetic potential of rubber trees to produce more rubber and timber
In a significant achievement, the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) under the Rubber Board has decoded the entire genome of the most popular Indian hybrid rubber clone RRII 105.
K.N. Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, said the findings would have a profound impact on research aimed at improving the genetic potential of rubber trees to produce more rubber and timber. “This will also aid in evolving clones that can tolerate pests and diseases and adverse climatic conditions in a better manner,” he said.
The genome decoding, he said, was also expected to give a major breakthrough in researches on the development of new rubber clones, as with the help of the whole genome information, the breeding cycle in rubber can be reduced by half from the present period of 23-25 years,
James Jacob, Director, RRII, said the assembled genome information available with the RRII would be used to extract meaningful biological information like the genes responsible for high yield, disease tolerance, climate resilience, TPD tolerance and so on.
“The tools (molecular markers) for the selection of potential high-yielding varieties at the juvenile stage itself will be developed in the research labs of the RRII so that farmers get better-performing clones more frequently from Rubber Board. The information generated will also be used for the designing of better-performing GM rubber plants with enhanced yield, allergen-free latex, climate resilience and so on,” he pointed out.
The completion of this ambitious project will enable the country to be in the forefront of rubber cultivation and productivity in the coming years, officials said.
The RRII achieved a draft assembly of the genome sequence of RRII 105 with a size of 1.47 giga bases (1.47 billion bases) with 94% completeness, which is an excellent outcome for a de novo assembled tree genome. The genome assembly was accomplished by using genome sequence data obtained from deep sequencing using NGS platforms like Illumina, Pacbio and Roche 454.
Officials said the sequence data generated was of good quality and sufficient enough to cover more than 200-fold of the genome of rubber. The completed genome assembly is one among the biggest tree genome sequences from India, they added.