A parasite named microcyclus ulei has already inflicted substantial harm on rubber harvests in Central and Latin America, and experts fear that plantations in Africa and Asia could be next. The parasite attacks leaves and reduces the amount of rubber one tree can produce. At Michelin's research center in Brazil, 14 parasite-resistant tree varieties are being tested, as if action isn't taken soon, tire prices could rise significantly. And the effect goes far beyond higher costs passed on to consumers: the tire industry supports 30 million workers worldwide.

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