Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka

Ministry of Plantation

Genetics & Plant Breeding Department

The main objective of this department is to develop clones with high yield potential combined with all other desirable secondary characters and this programme supported by

  • Expansion of genetic diversity of local breeding pool with adding new genotypes from Non Wickham germplasm and foreign clones.
  • Screening of suitable abiotic stress tolerant clones for marginal areas through molecular and field evaluation.
  • Development of more yield parameters to shortening the breeding procedure with precise early selections.


Head of the Department

Mrs S P Withanage, BSc Agric (SL), MSc (India),  PhD (Malaysia) ;

Obtained her Doctor in Philosophy in Genetic Engineering and Molecular Sciences, University Putra Malaysia, Master of Science in Genetics and Biotechnology, Punjab Agricultural University, India and BSc (special) degree in Agriculture from University of Ruhuna .She has published around 30 research papers in international and national journals, bulletins and conference proceedings. Also has supervised around 22 undergraduate and post graduate students.

Thorough investigation of Non Wickham Hevea germplasm identification of stress tolerance genes and development of strong yield parameters/indexes for precise early selection of superior genotypes are interest.

  • Represent the National Plant Breeding Committee of SLCARP
  • Committee member for Implementation of the National Bio Safety Frame work in accordance with the Cartagena Protocol on Bio Safety
  • Judging Panel member of Sri Lankan Inventors Commission
  • Represent the IRRDB Plant Breeding Committee

Senior Research Officer

K K Liyanage, BSc Agric (SL) MPhil (SL),  PhD (China) ; ;

Obtained his PhD at Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming, China with affiliated to Mae Fah Luang Unversity, M.Phil in Agricultural Biology from, and BSc in Agriculture from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He has published more than 25 research papers in international and national journals, bulletins and conference proceedings.

Currently he is involved in research on development of improved genetic materials conservation of germplasm collection and selection of superior genotypes and clone identification based on morphological and molecular characters.

  • Mrs.P.V.A.Anushka has awarded a IRRDB training fellowship, International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB), Malaysia to help to young scientists in the IRRDB member institutes to familiarize themselves in the development of natural rubber in the member countries and to establish an effective network among themselves, from 18th – 21st October, 2017.
  • Dr.K.K.Liyanage has awarded as the best presenter in the session on Crop Characterization and Diversity at the twenty-fourth Annual Congress of the Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, The University of Peradeniya. November 15 – 16, 2012.
  • S.P. Withnage (17-19 November 2009). Gibberellin (GA); The Kenaf Fibre Quality Enhancer. Bio Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: MOSTI. Winner of the Silver Medal.
  • S.P. Withnage (July 28-30, 2009). Overexpression of gebberellin 20 oxiclane gene increase of cellulose fiber length Kenaf (Habiscuss cannabinus L.). Exhibition of Invention, Research and innovation (PRPI 2009). Serdang: University Putra Malaysia. Winner of the Gold Medal.
The CLF resistant clone RRIC 100 was grouped with eleven genotypes of 2005 HP progeny in screening of SSR molecular markers and showed field level CLF resistance. All these genotypes were selected for further CLF resistance screening in molecular and field level.
Pedigree-based analysis showed that, if it is added at least single genotype from each progeny raised from the year 2000-2017, to the currant breeding pool, the total cytoplasmic contribution represent by nine progenitors.
Scientific evaluation of the Hevea germplasm collection to classify the genotypes according to genetic parameters and by using molecular markers to identify promising genotypes for future breeding programme. Two direct Selections were made in 2019 as GPS III and GPS IV.
Seventeen clones received from India, Myanmar, Thailand and Cote d’Ivoiry are prepared to establish to test their adaptability and performances at large scale clonal trials.
The preliminary results of analysis of antioxidant gene expression in tapping panel dryness (TPD) affected rubber tree showed that the HbMnSOD and HbCAT genes were down regulated in TPD affected rubber clones and might be lead to accumulation of ROS which may causes TPD. A protein band with around 35 k Da of size (Indicated in arrow heads in figure) was present in all the healthy tees but absent in all the TPD affected trees.
According to the Quantitative gene expression analysis of selected genes to screen drought tolerant of selected Hevea clones, RRISL 2005 and RRISL 2006 are more tolerant to drought compared to RRISL 203, RRIC121, RRISL Centennial 3 and RRISL 2100 and further research are continued to confirm the results.
Clone Recommendation (Revised in November 2013)
  • Patents / Industrial Designs
  • Released the latest revision of clone recommendation ( Revised 2013 November)
  • Released new clone   RRISL 2100  under group III
  • Selected  three genotypes from Small Scale Clonal trials for further ECT /RRI collaborative trials
  • Six  genotypes were  selected from ECT/ RRI trials for further characterization under Group III recommendation
Annual Hand Pollination programme
Evaluation of new genotypes produced from the progeny of hand pollination programme under small scale level (SSCT).
Evaluation of selected HP entries from the SSCT’s, in estate/ RRI collaborative clone trials. (ECTs)
Further evaluation of selected HP entries from the ECTs, in smallholder / RRI collaborative clone trials (SRTs)


  • Providing training facilities and demonstrations for undergraduate, postgraduate students, school teachers and students
  • Providing facilities for Research undertaking students for their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees
  • Clone identifications services based on stake holders request
  • Kodikara K.D.S.S, Withanage S.P. and Attanayake D.P.S.T.G. Genetic Diversity of Selected Recommended Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) Clones Using SSR markers (2011). Proceedings of 11thagricultural Research Symposium 16-20
  • Samanthi P. W.,  Mohd. Puad A., Suhaimi N.,  Kumar  S.M.  and Nor Aini A. In vitro shoot regeneration from leaf explants of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) 2013 Sains Malaysiana (4) 1505-1510
  • Withanage, S.P., Peiris, H.P., Kariyawasam, L.S., Sarath Kumara, I.D.M.J., Gunasekara, T.M.S.K and. Baddewithana, B.W.A.N (2014) Use of Yield-Yield Correlation for Early Selection of Newly- developed Hevea Genotypes ( 2014) .In A.P.Keerthipala (ed) Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Plantation Crop Research- “ Towards a Green Plantion Economy “ Sugarcane Research institute, Uda Walawe, 70190, Sri Lanka. Pp 11-19
  • Liyanage K.K. Sumanasinghe V.A,. Attanayake, D.P.T.S.G. and Baddewithana, B.W.A.N. (2014) Identification of Recommended Hevea brasiliensis Clones Grown in Sri Lanka by RAPD Analysis,Tropical Agricultural
  • Liyanage K.K. Sumanasinghe V.A,. Attanayake, D.P.T.S.G. and Baddewithana, B.W.A.N. (2013) Phenotypic diversity of rubber clones grown in Sri Lanka at their immature stage based on the available morphological descriptors, Tropical Agricultural Research, 24 (2); 112 – 127
    Withanage  Evaluation and Utilization of the Hevea Germplasm collected   from 1981 IRRDB expedition to the Amazon; a review Journal of Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka Vol 95

  • Liyanage, K. K., Khan, S., Mortimer, P. E., Hyde, K. D., Xu, J., Brooks, S., Ming, Z., (2016). Powdery mildew disease of rubber tree. Forest Pathology 46(2), 90-103.
    Liyanage, K.K., Khan, S., Brooks, S., Mortimer, P.E., Karunarathna, S.C., Xu, J., Hyde, K.D., (2017). Taxonomic revision and phylogenetic analyses of rubber powdery mildew fungi. Microbial Pathogenesis 105,185-195
    Liyanage, K.K., Baddewithana, B.W.A.N, (2015) Phenotypic diversity of Sri Lankan rubber clones at their immature stage, Journal of the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka  95, 14-23
    Liyanage KK, Khan S, Brooks S,Mortimer PE, Karunarathna SC, Xu J, Hyde KD, (2018). Morpho-Molecular Characterization of Two Ampelomyces spp. (Pleosporales) Strains Mycoparasites of Powdery Mildew of Hevea brasiliensis. Front. Microbiol. 9:12.doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00012.

For Information

  • Call 1919

Contact Info

  • Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka.
  • Dartonfield, Agalawatta. 12200
  • 034 - 2247426, 034 - 2247383
  • 034 - 2248459, 034 - 2295540
  • 034 - 2247427