Start Date: May 14, 2008
End Date: May 13, 2013
We will collect nine underrepresented wild Helianthus species to fill gaps in the sunflower collection. Wild species will be evaluated for various agronomic traits, such as insect and disease resistance, saturated fatty acid content, cytoplasmic male sterility, and fertility restoration. DNA markers will be identified and used to reveal genetic diversity in the wild Helianthus collection. Once useful germplasm is identified, we will introgress the genes of interest into cultivated sunflower through interspecific hybridization. We will concentrate on transfer of Sclerotinia head and stalk rot resistance genes from wild perennial species into cultivated sunflower. Other traits we will identify and transfer are resistance to sunflower rust, downy mildew, and insects. Additional EST-based and SNP DNA markers will be developed for further saturation of the sunflower genetic map, and markers tightly linked to traits such as resistance to downy mildew, rust, and Sclerotinia, as well as to fertility restoration, will be used to expedite the process of sunflower germplasm enhancement via marker-assisted selection. We will use association mapping to identify DNA markers associated with insect resistance. BAC and BIBAC clones will be used to identify trisomics for the purpose of assigning individual linkage groups of the sunflower genetic map to single chromosomes of cultivated sunflower. BSL-1, 7/3/07.