The impact of grafting in commercial rubber tree production

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


Hevea brasiliensis, known as the rubber tree, is the major source of natural rubber (NR), an irreplaceable material in numerous industrial applications. Artificial selection has produced a number of high-yielding clones, though early selection of these clones was performed without an understanding of the biological mechanisms contributing to the production of NR. Bud-grafting is a common practice on Hevea plantations, and is used to introduce beneficial phenotypic variation against factors such as pathogen attacks and adverse weather conditions. The elite-clones, which constitute the scion, should provide a degree of homogeneity, yet the rootstock-scion interactions are extremely variable, often having a detrimental effect on latex-yield. Therefore, the primary aim of the project is to uncover the events surrounding bud-grafting, primarily through next-generation sequencing of transcriptomes and epigenomes. There is a broader objective of the project, which is to further elucidate the factors and mechanisms of NR biosynthesis. As such, the first stage of the project is to perform a bioinformatics meta-analysis of all available transcriptomic data online. The sequence data has been generated from a comprehensive set of multiple tissues, cultivars and conditions, and should therefore provide a thorough characterisation the expression of biosynthetic genes. It is expected that results of this analysis will greatly influence the experimental work later in this project.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
1790803 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 02/10/2016 27/06/2021 Alexander Dawson