© Daria Chrobok, DC SciArt

Crop: Dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz)
Property: Increased root biomass

Caoutchouc is a component of many everyday things such as car tires, plasters, gaskets, rubber boots and sneakers. Until now, natural caoutchouc has mainly been obtained from the rubber tree. However, the search for alternative sources has been encouraged by the growing demand for natural caoutchouc and the challenges associated with caoutchouc tree cultivation (e.g. slow growth, stringent climate requirements, susceptibility of monoculture plantations to pests or the costs of transporting raw materials from geographically secluded production sites). The Russian dandelion has recently become a promising alternative due to its ability to produce and store significant amounts of natural rubber and inulin in its roots. However, domestication of the Russian dandelion requires the development of stable agronomic traits such as higher yields of inulin and natural rubber, higher root biomass and a root morphology more suitable for cultivation and harvesting. Scientists at the University of Münster have succeeded in identifying and eliminating a gene in Russian dandelion which has led to a positive effect on root growth. Compared to the control group, the edited plants showed an improved root morphology, an increase in root biomass and elevated inulin and natural caoutchouc yields.


TitleLoss of function mutation of the Rapid Alkalinization Factor (RALF1)-like peptide in the dandelion Taraxacum koksaghyz entails a high-biomass taproot phenotype
AuthorsAnnika Wieghaus et al.