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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sunflower and Plant Biology Research » Research » Research Project #430337

Research Project: Genomics of Abiotic Stress Resistance in Wild and Cultivated Sunflowers

Location: Sunflower and Plant Biology Research

Project Number: 3060-21000-043-17-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2016
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

The specific goals of this project are to: (1) assess resistance to drought, flooding, salt, and low nutrient stress in cultivated sunflower and its wild relatives using traditional and high-throughput phenotyping approaches; (2) associate variation in abiotic stress resistance with specific genes, regulatory networks, and/or causal variants; (3) determine the mechanistic basis of stress resistance via physiological and transcriptomic characterization of genotypes with divergent stress responses; (4) address major biological questions concerning the types of genes, their network positions, and the nature of physiological trade-offs involved in the evolution of abiotic stress resistance; (5) identify suitable stress resistance alleles (i.e., those exhibiting resistance in multiple genetic backgrounds, ideally with minimal tradeoffs) for use in sunflower breeding programs and potentially for improvement of other oilseeds; and (6) explore strategies for addressing significant negative impacts of international treaties on the use of plant genetic resources by private and public sector breeding programs in Canada and worldwide as part of our Genomics and its Ethical, Environmental, Economic, Legal and Social aspects (GE3LS) research. The subaward to ARS will focus on goals 1, 2, and 5 above, but will involve coordination with investigators working on the other portions.

The ARS investigator will contribute the following to the team: 1. Co-Develop a multispecies, advanced generation intercross (MAGIC) population which includes USDA breeding program germplasm (already transferred under MTA), released lines, and wild species from the USDA Plant Introduction collection. USDA will assist in the intermating and line development processes as well. 2. Conduct salt tolerance testing on a uniformly saline soil in the Fargo, ND, area. This may be done in partnership with NuSeed Americas, another cooperator on this project, or by USDA independently. Factors to be investigated are seedling vigor, plant height, visible damage due to salts, yield, and oil of the lines per se. 3. Consult on the analysis of the data in the framework of association mapping and joint AM-QTL analysis. 4. Contribute knowledge of the breeding system and marketing of sunflower to the team to maximize impact of any inventions that result from the work.