Genetic and Environmental Effects on Growth, Resin and Rubber Production in Guayule (Parthenium Argentatum, Gray)
AdvisorRay, Dennis T.
Committee ChairRay, Dennis T.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractGuayule (Parthenium argentatum Gray) is a rubber producing plant native to the Chihuahuan Desert, which is currently being investigated as a source of hypoallergenic latex. Current efforts are focusing on increasing latex/rubber production in the plant by either manipulating the rubber biosynthetic pathway, altering agronomic practices to take advantage of environmental conditions that increase rubber synthesis, or both. Field and greenhouse studies were conducted to more fully understand the effect of genetic and environmental manipulation on rubber production in guayule. Three guayule breeding lines were transformed in order to increase the availability of the initiators of rubber synthesis. The tissue-culture-derived transgenic plants and their seed-generated progeny were grown in separate field experiments. Transformation with the genes for the initiators of rubber synthesis did not increase rubber concentration or yield. Height and width had high heritability estimates in the transgenic progeny and were the traits most correlated with rubber yield, while rubber concentration was poorly correlated with height and width. Greenhouse studies were conducted to understand why water stress and low night temperatures increase rubber concentration. Water stress increased the contribution of the stems to the total rubber in the plant and increased the bark to wood ratio of the stem. Most rubber is accumulated in the stems and these two effects of water stress contributed to the increased rubber concentration in water-stressed plants. Low night temperature reduced plant growth without a decrease in carbon exchange. Allocation of carbon fixation products to rubber synthesis rather than growth, contribute to the high rubber production under low night temperatures. Contributions from both breeders and agronomists are needed to further improve guayule rubber/latex yield.
Degree ProgramPlant Science