TOKYO (July 11, 2012)—Bridgestone Corp. claims it has successfully decoded the main genome sequence for Hevea brasiliensis, commonly known as the rubber tree, and developed technologies to improve disease diagnosis for the plant, which produces latex needed for tire production.
This genome sequence contains important genetic information about the tree's reproduction and life. The research breakthrough was accomplished in conjunction with Genome Informatics Laboratory in the National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan, Bridgestone said.
This new genome data are expected to facilitate development of improved breeding technologies and growing methods for natural rubber.
These technologies can enable the development of a better clone of the plant and improve the yield and quality of the latex produced, Bridgestone said.
The company added that the data also may accelerate research applications in a variety of fields, including the development of a clone with superior disease resistance and stress tolerance.
In a separate announcement, Bridgestone said that it has also developed technologies to improve disease diagnosis for Hevea brasiliensis.
This development was made in conjunction with NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation), an independent administrative agency that conducts joint research on technology for resolving issues with technological development in developing countries.
Bridgestone said it has been focusing resources on the problem of white root disease, which infects roots, killing trees through rotting. This disease is plaguing Hevea brasiliensis in southeast Asia, where more than 90 percent of the trees are grown, Bridgestone said.