Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 5, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Sunflower is one of the few native crops of the USA. Since it is native, its wild relatives are readily available for genetic improvement of the crop. Sunflower has a long history of utilizing both wild and cultivated germplasm to increase its genetic diversity and economic value. The economic impact of the sunflower industry in the USA alone is 2.6 billion dollars annually, of which the wild species contribute an estimated 269.2 million dollars. Wild species are the source of the male sterile cytoplasm used in most commercial hybrids, and of several resistance genes for prevalent sunflower pathogens. The wild paradoxical sunflower is the source of a dominant gene for salt tolerance which has been incorporated into cultivated sunflower. Land races PI 432512, from the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon of Arizona has been identified as a source of resistance to the virulent North American races of rust. Pervenets, PI 483077, is a high oleic acid germplasm used to develop a sunflower oil that is similar in quality to olive oil. This germplasm was also used in the development of NuSun, a mid-oleic sunflower oil with reduced saturated fatty acid content and higher oxidative stability. Plant introductions have also been used to increase yield and oil content. Thus, germplasm has been used extensively to diversify the genetics of sunflower to make it an adaptable, viable, and sustainable crop.