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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: Use of wild Helianthus species in sunflower breeding

Authors
item Seiler, Gerald
item Jan, Chao-Chien
item Gulya, Thomas

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
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. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Conventional and Molecular Breeding of Field and Vegetable Crops, November 24-27, 2008, Novi Sad, Serbia. p. 71-76.

Interpretive Summary: Sunflower production continues to face challenges from both abiotic and biotic factors as well as from today's ever-changing market needs as production is shifting from areas of high productivity to marginal areas with lower yield potential. The crop has been faring quite well; however, the limited genetic variability in cultivated sunflower has placed the crop in a vulnerable position should any major shifts of disease races or pests occur. The uniform use of a single CMS PET1 (French) cytoplasm and a few fertility restoration genes for worldwide hybrid sunflower production makes the crop extremely vulnerable. 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. This paper will discuss the importance and the utilization of the wild sunflower species for increasing the genetic diversity in cultivated sunflower. 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 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 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 enhance new genetic variability of the crop, and help maintain sunflower as a viable major global oilseed crop.

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 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 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 enhance new genetic variability of the crop, and help maintain sunflower as a viable major global oilseed crop.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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