Submitted to: American Society of Plant Biologists Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 6, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is an oilseed crop considered to be one of the most drought tolerant crops in the world. An extensive rooting system gives safflower the ability to utilize water unavailable to most crops and scavenge nutrients leached down the soil profile. Recently characterized safflower accessions have the ability to be seeded in the fall and harvested in the spring, giving farmers a valuable crop to incorporate into a cropping rotation. A large amount of diversity between safflower accessions offers the potential for improved agricultural traits such as increased oil content and modified fatty acid composition. Traditional plant breeding has made improvements to this crop, but little molecular work has been done to date. Using molecular markers, our goal is to further characterize inter and intra-safflower accession diversity in hopes of increasing oil content and producing a profitable crop for farmers in the Lower Great Plains and other arid regions across the globe. Recently a mini-core collection of safflower representing the wide range of diversity within the species was characterized using AFLP analysis. Using SSR molecular marker techniques, we plan to further characterize this mini-core collection in addition to several known winter-hardy safflower accessions. We will be specifically looking to identify markers associated with increased oil content, modified fatty acid composition, and winter hardiness. With the aid of such molecular markers, winter planted safflower can be enhanced to give farmers a profitable crop in conditions where other crops would struggle to compete.