New Biotech Project announced by Minister

New Biotech Project announced by Minister

Alessandra Di Cola speaking to the Minister in TARRC's Biotech labThe Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, visited TARRC on 8th August. It was his first visit to the laboratory and he was briefed on the work that TARRC carries out on behalf of the Malaysian rubber industry. He was given a tour of the laboratories including TARRC's new biotech facilities. It is here where scientists will embark on an exciting new project to carry out the first extensive analysis of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) genome.

Alessandra Di Cola from TARRC's Biotechnology Unit, pictured with the Minister, remarked "The Minister was very interested in many aspects of the work we are embarking on here at TARRC, particularly in the simple test kit we are developing for latex allegens."

The first sequencing of the rubber tree genome project will be carried out by TARRC and the newly opened Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) based at the Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK. The successful outcome of this sequencing project will ultimately lead to rubber trees having improved characteristics such as disease resistance, latex yield, girth and timber quality. The Hevea genome is one of the largest among cultivated crop species. For example, it is larger than the oil palm genome and more than five times that of the cocoa genome.

The Minister formally announced the project on Saturday 15th August at a seminar on 'Sustainability of the rubber industry' held at the Malaysia International Commodity Conference & Showcase (MICCOS) at the Malaysian Agro Exposition Park, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia. MICCOS is a premier event on Malaysian Commodities that brings together major industry players and entrepreneurs in the commodities sector.

He said "The successful outcome of this sequencing project will ultimately lead to rubber trees having much improved productivity. We envisage the programme to produce a first draft sequence early next year."

For more information read the full PRESS RELEASE .

© Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre 2005
August 2009