Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2008
Publication Date: November 24, 2008
Citation: Seiler, G.J., Jan, C., Gulya, T.J. 2008. Use of Wild Helianthus Species in Sunflower Breeding [abstract]. International Conference on Conventional and Molecular Breeding of Field and Vegetable Crops, November 24-27, 2008, Novi Sad, Serbia. p. 25. Technical Abstract: The genus Helianthus consists of 51 species and 19 subspecies with 14 annual and 37 perennial species. The current USDA-ARS wild Helianthus germplasm collection contains 2150 accessions, 1369 annual species accessions and 781 perennial species accessions. The narrow genetic base of cultivated sunflower has been broadened by the infusion of genes from wild species, which have provided a continued source of beneficial agronomic traits. Transfer of genes from the difficult-to-cross wild perennial Helianthus species has been enhanced by culturing of otherwise abortive interspecific hybrid embryos, making these species widely available for breeding purposes, either for specific major gene transfer or for the transfer of quantitative trait genes. Significant progress has been made in identifying genes in the wild species and the development of germplasm with regards to resistance to new races of downy mildew, rust, broomrape and other persistent diseases such as Sclerotinia stalk and head rot. In addition, several cytoplasmic male sterile sources and corresponding fertility restoration genes have been identified, together with new genes helping to improve oil quality, herbicide resistance, and salt and drought tolerance. Thus far, only a small portion of the available genetic diversity of the wild Helianthus species has been utilized globally. There is no doubt that wild Helianthus species will continue to provide new genetic variability for the sunflower breeding community, helping to maintain sunflower as a viable major global oilseed crop.