SAN DIEGO, CA and PHOENIX, AZ–(Marketwired – Nov 12, 2013) – SGB Inc., an agricultural biotechnology company, and Yulex Corporation, a biomaterial company, announced today a collaboration to establish a genomics and molecular breeding platform focused on accelerating the crop improvement of Guayule as a sustainable source of biorubber that can replace traditional tropical or petroleum-based rubber for medical, consumer and industrial markets.
SGB will apply a non-GMO technology platform that combines breeding and selection with genomic technologies, including high throughput genotyping, genome wide trait association studies, genomic selection and proprietary plant re-domestication methods to the improvement of Guayule. The company will identify genetic markers that represent increased rubber yield and use that to produce new cultivars that express that yield under commercial conditions. SGB will also implement novel breeding strategies designed to accelerate the development of improved cultivars with higher rubber yield productivity, consistency and increased stress tolerance.
“SGB’s proven molecular breeding and genomics platform technologies will be invaluable as we accelerate the development of next generation Guayule crop lines,” said Jeffrey Martin, president and chief executive officer of Yulex. “Our partnership will enable us to dramatically improve yield, reduce input costs and introduce new traits that will drive the deployment of Guayule as a sustainable, industrial crop on global basis.”
Guayule (Y-U-LEE) is an industrial crop that does not compete against food or fiber crops and requires low inputs. It is a renewable source of natural rubber that can replace petroleum-based synthetics and lessen reliance on imported tropical rubber.
“We are excited to leverage the lessons learned with Jatropha and apply our proprietary genome-based breeding tools toward crop improvement of an entirely new species,” said Eric Mathur, vice president of technology for SGB. “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.”