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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUNFLOWER GERMPLASM DIVERSIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION UTILIZING WILD SUNFLOWER SPECIES, CYTOGENETICS, AND APPLIED GENOMICS

Location: Sunflower Research

Title: Sunflower

Authors
item Seiler, Gerald
item Jan, Chao-Chien

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Plant Genomics
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2009
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Citation: Seiler, G.J., Jan, C. 2010. Chapter 1, Basic Information. In: Hu, J., Seiler, G., Kole, C., editors. Genetics, Genomics and Breeding of Sunflower. Enfield, NH: Science Publishers. p. 1-50.

Interpretive Summary: Global sunflower production is estimated to be 23 million hectares in 60 countries. It is the second largest hybrid crop, and the fifth largest oilseed crop. Sunflower cultivation continues to expand onto less productive areas with lower-fertility soils and less favorable climates, which has reduced the average global yield of sunflower. The challenge for the sunflower breeding community is to breed sunflower adaptable to these marginal areas and at the same time increase seed yield. Research is the key to solving this problem. Being current about available research information helps breeders make better and more efficient and effective decisions in their programs. The objectives of the chapter on sunflower were to summarize the available genetic resources, breeding progress using wild species, and to serve as a general introduction for the remaining chapters of the book entitled Genetics, Genomics, and Breeding of Sunflower. Specific topics covered include a brief history of the crop, its economic importance, nutritional information, academic importance as a model species for research, description and use of sunflower germplasm, origin, taxonomy, domestication, dispersion, plant structure and growth habit, cytogenetics, genetic resources, germplasm utilization and enhancement, conventional breeding, and application of molecular techniques to breeding. Significant advances have been made in understanding the origin, domestication, and organization of the genetic diversity, characterization, and screening methods for abiotic and biotic stresses. Molecular biology has added to the scope of plant breeding in sunflower, providing an option to manipulate plant expressions. The process has barely begun, but there is a great as yet unrealized opportunity to address all aspects of crop production, utilization, and food value. Useful germplasms have been identified for many agronomic traits and some molecular markers for indirect selection of favorable alleles are becoming more available. Sunflower researchers will have to strive to combine the best conventional and modern molecular approaches to improve sunflower germplasm to keep sunflower an economically viable global crop. This will require a multidisciplinary team approach and a commitment to a long-term integrated genetic improvement program in sunflower.

Technical Abstract: The world production of sunflower is estimated at 23 million hectares in 60 countries. It is the second largest hybrid crop, and the fifth largest oilseed crop. Sunflower cultivation continues to be pushed onto lower-fertility soils and other marginal environments where drought and high or low temperatures continually take their toll on the yield per unit area. The challenge for the sunflower breeding community is to breed sunflower adaptable to these marginal environments and at the same time increase seed yield. The objectives of the chapter on sunflower were to summarize the available genetic resources and breeding progress using wild species, and to serve as a general introduction for the remaining chapters of the book entitled Genetics, Genomics, and Breeding of Sunflower. Specific topics covered include a brief history of the crop, its economic importance, nutritional information, academic importance as a model species for research, description and use of sunflower germplasm, origin, taxonomy, domestication, dispersion, plant structure and growth habit, cytogenetics, genetic resources, germplasm utilization and enhancement, conventional breeding, and application of molecular techniques to breeding. Significant advances have been made in understanding the origin, domestication, and organization of the genetic diversity, characterization, and screening methods for abiotic and biotic stresses. Useful germplasms have been identified for many agronomic traits and some molecular markers for indirect selection of favorable alleles are becoming available. Sunflower researchers will have to strive to combine the best conventional and modern molecular approaches to improve sunflower germplasm to keep sunflower an economically viable global crop. This will require a multidisciplinary team approach and a commitment to a long-term integrated genetic improvement program in sunflower.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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