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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sunflower

Authors
item Jan, Chao-Chien
item Seiler, Gerald

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 24, 2006
Publication Date: January 1, 2007
Citation: Jan, C.C., Seiler, G.J. 2007. Sunflower. In: Genetics Resources, Chromosome Engineering, and Crop Improvement, Volume 4, Oilseed Crops, R.J. Singh, Ed., CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, New York. p. 103-165.

Interpretive Summary: Global sunflower production is estimated to be 21 million hectares in 60 countries. It is the second largest hybrid crop, and the fifth largest oilseed crop. Sunflower cultivation continues to expand into less productive areas with lower-fertility soils and less favorable climates, which has reduced the average yield of sunflower globally. 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 objective of the chapter on sunflower was to review breeding progress and update information about the available genetic resources, crop improvement, and chromosome engineering for the sunflower crop. Specific topics included a description and use of sunflower, origin, domestication, taxonomy, cytogenetics, germplasm enhancement, conventional breeding, and applications of molecular techniques. 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 21 million hectares in 60 countries. It is the second largest hybrid crop, and the fifth largest oilseed crop. Sunflower cultivation continues to be pushed into 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 objective of the chapter on sunflower was to review the breeding progress and update information about the available genetic resources, crop improvement, and chromosome engineering for the sunflower crop. Specific topics include a description and use of sunflower, origin, domestication, taxonomy, cytogenetics, germplasm enhancement, conventional breeding, and applications 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: 10/22/2014
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