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SGB, Yulex Collaborate on Genomic Program to Develop Guayule as Biorubber Source

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – SGB and Yulex today said they will be collaborating on the creation of a genomics and molecular breeding program to accelerate the crop improvement of guayule as a sustainable source of biorubber.

The collaboration seeks to develop guayule as a replacement for tropical or petroleum-based rubber for medical, consumer, and industrial markets. Guayule is an industrial crop that does not compete with food or fiber crops. It requires low inputs and is a renewable source of natural rubber.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As part of its work, SGB will use a non-genetically modified organism technology platform that combines breeding and selection with genomic technologies, such as high-throughput genotyping, genome-wide trait association studies, genomic selection, and proprietary plant redomestication methods, the partners said.

SGB will identify genetic markers associated with increased yields, and then use them "to produce new cultivars that express that yield under commercial conditions."

The San Diego-based agricultural biotechnology firm also will implement new breeding strategies to hasten the development of "improved cultivars with higher rubber yield productivity, consistency, and increased stress tolerance."

"Deciphering the genetic relationships and ploidy levels residing within guayule germplasm enables advanced breeding strategies which will result in optimized regional productivity, thus expanding guayule's global footprint through the development of new varieties that produce high yields of latex and rubber under diverse environmental conditions," SGB Vice President of Technology Eric Mathur said in a statement.