Rubber Tree Cultivation and Improvement: Biological Aspects and the Risk of Inbreeding Depression

Abstract Rubber trees (Hevea spp.) are among the essential plants cultivated and have contributed to Malaysia’s economy growth for many decades. Latex harvested from rubber trees is an irreplaceable raw material and accounts for a wide range of uses in tires, tubes, footwear, rubber gloves, and other rubber-based products. There were many attempts to produce ideal rubber tree for increasing latex yield production through the improvement programmes since 1950s. However, the risk of inbreeding depression and the planting materials produced from the chosen parents that are closely related in the improvement programmes is fairly high. Inbreeding depression caused discouraging effects such as uneven bark surface, leaf disease infection, easily damaged by wind blows and eventually reducing the production of latex yield overall. This review highlights the important of biological aspects for latex production in rubber tree and seeing minimizing the risk of inbreeding depression with the necessity of broader genetic base in the rubber tree cultivation and improvement programmes.

Keywords— Inbreeding depression, genetic base, rubber.

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Agriculture Journal: Rubber Tree Cultivation and Improvement: Biological Aspects and the Risk of Inbreeding Depression

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