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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Sunflower and Plant Biology Research

Title: Disease Resistance in Cultivated Sunflower Derived from Public Germplasm Collections

item Gulya Jr, Thomas
item Marek, Laura
item Gavrilova, Vera

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2010
Publication Date: 6/23/2010
Citation: Gulya Jr, T.J., Marek, L.F., Gavrilova, V. 2010. Disease resistance in cultivated sunflower derived from public germplasm collections. Proceedings of the International Symposium "Breeding of Sunflower on Resistance to Diseases". pp. 7-18.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The incorporation of disease resistance into cultivated sunflower has been a major goal of private and public plant breeders. With several dozen fungal pathogens and a few bacterial and viral problems, the primary means of managing sunflower diseases has been through genetic resistance. While the ultimate source of all new genes in cultivated sunflower is the wild Helianthus species gene pool, the diverse collections of cultivated sunflower maintained by several governmental research entities have been a major resource for improved disease resistance. The two largest sunflower germplasm collections in the world are maintained by the USDA-NPGS in Ames, IA, U.S.A. and by VIR in St. Petersburg, Russia. The USDA collection currently numbers over 1700 cultivated accessions (Plant Introductions, or PIs), originating from 59 countries, while the VIR collection has 2300 cultivated accessions, originating from 48 countries. Data on disease resistance of the USDA collection is publically available via the Internet at, and seed is available free of charge. Seeds from the VIR collection are likewise available to researchers, with disease resistance data available upon request. Historically, the USDA collection has been used extensively by the USDA Sunflower Research Unit in Fargo with many of its germplasm releases derived from Plant Introductions. Resistance to downy mildew, rust, Sclerotinia stalk rot and head rot, Phomopsis stem canker, and Verticillium wilt have been identified in multiple USDA Plant Introductions. The USDA cultivated sunflower collection is also used by private and other public breeders within and outside of the U.S., but specific use of the Plant Introductions is not always documented. Through continued additions to these public germplasm collections, the genetic diversity of sunflower (and of disease resistance genes) will be expanded, and the free exchange of this germplasm will benefit both public and private researchers.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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