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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Sunflower and Plant Biology Research

Title: Evaluating an interspecific Helianthus annuus x Helianthus tuberosus population for use in a perennial sunflower breeding program

item Kantar, Michael
item Betts, Kevin
item Michno, Jean-michael
item Luby, James
item Morrell, Peter
item Hulke, Brent
item Stupar, Robert
item Wyse, Donald

Submitted to: Field Crops Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/24/2013
Publication Date: 1/1/2014
Citation: Kantar, M.B., Betts, K., Michno, J.-M., Luby, J.J., Morrell, P.L., Hulke, B.S., Stupar, R.M., Wyse, D.L. 2014. Evaluating an interspecific Helianthus annuus x Helianthus tuberosus population for use in a perennial sunflower breeding program. Field Crops Research. 155:254-264. DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2013.04.018.

Interpretive Summary: This work is intended to provide an update on the use of interspecies hybrids in sunflower to produce a perennial, crop-type sunflower for use in diversified agricultural systems. Based on field studies, there was no correlation between seed yield traits and perennial habit traits, indicating that a balance between perennial habit and high grain yield is easily obtained by breeding. A breeding strategy was developed from the results of the study which may be a blueprint for developing a successful perennial sunflower for the benefit of agriculture.

Technical Abstract: Perennial crops show promise as a sustainable production tool that provides ecosystem services (maintaining healthy soil, controlling erosion, improving water quality, enhancing wild-life habitat), while also contributing an economically viable cropping option to farmers. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is an ideal crop for perennialization because of its genetic resources and wide variety of end-uses. The objective of this research was to evaluate interspecific hybrids between perennial Helianthus tuberosus L. (2n=6x=102) and annual Helianthus annuus L. (2n=2x=34) for perenniality and agronomic traits, to assess their utility in developing a perennial grain crop. Field trials indicated that seed yield traits were positively correlated with flower traits. Tuber traits, which are required for perenniality, and seed yield traits were not correlated, indicating that simultaneous selection may be able to target high yielding lines that also tuberize. The F1 individuals were intermated for one generation and the IM1F1 showed large increases in flower head size (20%) compared to the best F1 individual. The lack of correlation between tuber and seed traits coupled with the substantial phenotypic improvement after one generation of intermating suggest that the best improvement strategy for perenniality is a recurrent selection program focusing on yield.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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