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Rubber Research Institute of India to launch new projects
13 September 2013

Rubber Board Chairman Smt. Sheela Thomas has officially announced the launching of two ambitious research progrmmes at the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) for which MOUs were signed.
The first project is on de novo sequencing, assembly and annotation of the whole genome of rubber. The major objective of this project is to develop a database of genes and molecular markers linked to high latex yield, disease resistance, timber yield and resilience to adverse climatic conditions. RRII has initiated this programme with a tie up with an external agency which will undertake nucleotide sequencing work for which a non-disclosure agreement has been signed. The assembly and annotations will be done in association with RRII scientists. The genome of rubber which contains the entire genetic information about the species is large and complex and the same is expected to contain about three billion nucleotide base pairs which constitute the genes, regulatory elements and noncoding sequences in this species. Traditional breeding of rubber tree for genetic improvement is a tedious and lengthy process. Availability of annotated whole genome sequence of rubber is expected to open up new vistas in clone research. Genetic database will help in speedy development of elite clones with superior yield and adaptability to stressful environmental conditions. There is already at least one group each working on whole genome sequencing of rubber in Malaysia, UK and China. It is expected that India will catch up with the rest of the rubber world in this cutting edge area of research.
Second agreement has been signed with National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Ship Building (NIRDESH), Kozhikkode. This is for developing rubber based mountings for use in indigenously built submarines at Mazagon Dock Ltd., Mumbai. The MOU for this was signed in between Dr. James Jacob, Director (Research), RRII and Capt. (Retd.) Ramesh Babu, Project Director, NIRDESH, in the presence of Smt. Sheela Thomas IAS, Chairman, Rubber Board. Prototypes of the products were handed over to Rear Admiral (Retd.) R.K Shrawat, Chairman and Managing Director of Ms. Mazagon Dock Ltd., Mumbai at a seminar on ‘Ship building Challenges and the role of NIRDESH’ organized by NIRDESH at Kozhikkode. This project is part of the ongoing efforts of RRII to take its rubber technology research findings to the Indian Rubber Industry.

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