Biotech Updates

Researchers Point to Prickly Lettuce for Rubber Production

April 8, 2015

Washington State University scientists have discovered the regions in the genetic code of prickly lettuce, which are linked to rubber production. Their findings could be used to develop improved varieties which can provide raw material for producing rubber.

Prickly lettuce is a common weed and a wild relative and ancestor of cultivated lettuce. When the stem of prickly lettuce is injured, it produces milky sap or latex. This substance could be an economically viable source of natural rubber. Thus, WSU weed scientist Ian Burke and colleagues conducted a study to understand the genetics of rubber production. From distinct samples of prickly lettuce, they identified genetic markers related to latex formation and other important growth traits.

Read the news article from Washington Statue University.