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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Fao Working Group Report: Evaluation of Wild Helianthus Species Progress Report 1997-1998

Author
item Seiler, Gerald

Submitted to: Helia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Wild sunflower species constitute the basic genetic stock from which the cultivated sunflower originated. They have contributed specific agronomic characteristics for cultivated sunflower improvement. There are 50 species of wild sunflowers, 36 perennial and 14 annual. They offer a diverse source of potentially useful germplasm. The difficult task is finding the desirable characteristics in the diverse species. Efforts to study the diverse species will require international cooperation. The Foreign Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, (FAO), European Cooperative Research Network on Agriculture (ESCORENA) has established a sunflower network to do research on wild sunflower species. The working group on wild species consists of 20 participants from 12 countries. The present report presents the activities of the US researchers working on the wild species. Advances have been made in the identification of new sources of genes for resistance to downy mildew. Fatty acid composition of populations of wild sunflower from Canada were also reported. Also a study was completed that compared the evaluation of fatty acid composition from the original populations to that obtained from the same populations regenerated for genebank maintenance. Populations of wild annual species have been identified which have low saturated fatty acid, about half of that observed in the cultivated sunflower. The group has made significant progress in identifying desirable agronomic traits from the wild species for use in cultivated sunflower. However, much research remains to be done to take full advantage of the genetic diversity offered by the wild species.

Technical Abstract: The goal of sunflower researchers globally is to increase genetic diversity of cultivated sunflower using wild species ancestors to make it a widely adapted crop. The wild species offer a diverse source of potentially useful germplasm. The complex nature of the wild species and their species diversity makes finding these characteristics a difficult job. International cooperation had been established to approach this difficult task. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), European Cooperative Research Network of Agriculture (ESCORENA) has established a sunflower working group for evaluation of wild sunflower species that consists of 20 participants from 12 countries. Participants of the working group all share a common goal to use the wild species for improvement of cultivated sunflower crop. This group has reported their accomplishments in published reports and have accumulated information into databases. The US has participants coordinate the working group's activities, and have also been active in the research program. Advances have been made in identification of new sources of genes for resistance to downy mildew. Fatty acid composition of populations of wild sunflower from Canada were also reported. A study was completed that compared the evaluation of fatty acid composition from the original populations to that obtained from the same populations regenerated for genebank maintenance. Populations of wild annual species have been identified which have low saturated fatty acid, about half of that observed in the cultivated sunflower. The group has made significant progress in identifying desirable agronomic traits from wild species for use in cultivated sunflower and in expanding our knowledge about the wild sunflower species, but the task is far from complete.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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