47. Sunflower: Improving Crop Productivity and Abiotic Stress Tolerance

  1. Dr. Narendra Tuteja2,3,
  2. Dr. Sarvajeet Singh Gill2,4,
  3. Prof. Antonio F. Tiburcio5 and
  4. Dr. Renu Tuteja2
  1. Carlos A. Sala,
  2. Mariano Bulos,
  3. Emiliano Altieri and
  4. María Laura Ramos

Published Online: 30 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9783527632930.ch47

Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2

Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2

How to Cite

Sala, C. A., Bulos, M., Altieri, E. and Ramos, M. L. (2012) Sunflower: Improving Crop Productivity and Abiotic Stress Tolerance, in Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2 (eds N. Tuteja, S. S. Gill, A. F. Tiburcio and R. Tuteja), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527632930.ch47

Editor Information

  1. 2

    International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Plant Molecular Biology Group, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110 067, India

  2. 3

    MD University, Centre for Biotechnology, Rohtak 124 001, Haryana, India

  3. 4

    Aligarh Muslim University, Department of Botany, Aligarh 202 002, Uttar Pradesh, India

  4. 5

    Universitat de Barcelona, Unitat de Fisiologia Vegetal, Facultat de Farmàcia, Av. Joan XXIII, S/N, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

Author Information

  1. Departamento de Biotecnología, Nidera S.A. Ruta 8 km 376.5, Venado Tuerto, Santa Fe, Argentina

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 14 MAR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527328406

Online ISBN: 9783527632930



  • abiotic stress tolerance;
  • breeding;
  • candidate gene approach;
  • marker-assisted selection;
  • osmotic adjustment;
  • recombinant inbred lines


Conventional breeding has been successful in constantly raising the sunflower (Helianthus annuus var. macrocarpus) yield potential and its stability. This improvement has been possible through both the direct manipulation of several genes controlling resistance to fungal diseases, pests, and parasitic weeds and the indirect selection of quantitative trait loci that control heritable variability of the traits and physiological mechanisms that determine biomass production and its partitioning. However, this approach may now be insufficient, since genetic progress has been slower in recent decades, and it is necessary to provide improvements at a rapid pace due to the redistribution of sunflower production toward marginal areas, due to the rapid changing cultural practices such as no-till planting or weed management, and due to the increases in the frequency and severity of abiotic constraints because of global climate change. Research in the last decades led to three main approaches to change the objectives and the current tools for sunflower breeding. First of all, plant physiology provided new tools and models to understand the complex network of yield- and stress-related traits in order to identify target traits useful to improve selection efficiency. Second, molecular genetics has led to the discovery of a large number of loci affecting yield under potential and stress conditions or the expression of stress tolerance-related traits. Third, molecular biology has provided genes that are useful either as candidate sequences to dissect QTL or for transgenic approaches. In this chapter, we reviewed and discussed molecular breeding strategies to improve sunflower yield potential and its tolerance to abiotic stresses and xenobiotics, emphasizing the requirement to face this task through an integrated multidisciplinary approach based on plant genetics and genomics, physiology, and modeling.