Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Agricultural Research Service Diversifies Sunflower Traits

Date:
January 10, 2005
Source:
USDA / Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Wild sunflowers -- whether growing beside a fast-food restaurant parking lot or clinging to shifting sand dunes -- are worth their weight in gold to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Cultivated sunflowers.
Credit: Photo by Edward McCain / Courtesy of USDA / Agricultural Research Service

Wild sunflowers--whether growing beside a fast-food restaurant parking lot or clinging to shifting sand dunes--are worth their weight in gold to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Related Articles


Wild species seeds, according to the researchers, contain genes for improving cultivated sunflower and bolstering its resistance to insect pests and diseases. Genes from one such species led to cytoplasmic male sterility, the mechanism by which today's sunflower breeders develop new sunflower hybrids. The economic value of traits already bred into cultivated sunflower from wild species is an estimated $267 million to $384 million annually.

ARS scientists have been collecting wild sunflowers since 1976, amassing representative populations of the 50 known Helianthus species, according to scientists Tom Gulya and Gerald Seiler, in the ARS Sunflower Research Unit, Fargo, N.D. Accessions are placed in the ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) at Ames, Iowa, for safekeeping and distribution to sunflower researchers worldwide.

The Fargo unit is a clearinghouse of sorts for newly collected specimens en route to being catalogued and stored at NPGS. Seeds are first evaluated for weight, oil content and fatty acid composition. The new accessions are then tested for possible resistance to economically important sunflower diseases.

H. annuus is the predominant Helianthus species kept at NPGS, which has 2,163 accessions. H. annuus' preference for disturbed soils--like roadside grading and constructions sites--indicates the species' tenacity and adaptability, according to Gulya. Others are habitat-specific and vulnerable to human activity. In Texas, road projects pushed aside populations of H. paradoxus. Fortunately, new ones were found in New Mexico. Now, H. paradoxus' seed is in safe storage, including its genes for breeding salt- and drought-tolerant hybrids.

Seiler and Gulya collect sunflowers once or twice a year, typically driving 2,500 to 3,000 miles per trip, much of that on back roads. They map and describe each new site so future collections can be made. They estimate at least one trip annually for the next 10 years will be needed to collect all remaining species native to the United States.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA / Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Agricultural Research Service Diversifies Sunflower Traits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104080211.htm>.
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. (2005, January 10). Agricultural Research Service Diversifies Sunflower Traits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104080211.htm
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Agricultural Research Service Diversifies Sunflower Traits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104080211.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins