The fragility of a single-source, geographically concentrated supply of natural rubber, a critical material of the modern economy, has brought guayule (Parthenium argentatum A. Gray) to the forefront as an alternative source of natural rubber. The improvement of guayule for commercial-scale production has been limited by the lack of genomic tools and well-characterized genetic resources required for genomics-assisted breeding. To address this issue, we developed nearly 50,000 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genetic markers and genotyped 69 accessions of guayule and its sister taxa mariola (Parthenium incanum Kunth), representing the entire publically available US national germplasm collection. We identified multiple interspecific hybrid accessions previously considered guayule, including five guayule-mariola hybrids and non-mariola interspecific hybrid accessions AZ-2 and AZ-3, two commonly used high-yielding cultivars. We dissected patterns of genetic diversity within the collection to identify a highly diverse subset of guayule accessions, and showed that wild guayule stands in Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA have the potential to provide hitherto untapped guayule genetic diversity. Together, these results provide the most thorough genetic characterization of guayule germplasm to date and lay the foundation for rapid genetic improvement of commercial guayule germplasm.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science