• Yalcin KayaEmail author
  • Sinisa Jocic
  • Dragana Miladinovic


Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is one of the main oil crops in the world. Sunflower is a native crop in North America. It was first domesticated by the Indians who used it as food and medicine as well as body painting in ceremonies. Helianthus genus comprises 51 species, 14 annual and 37 perennial. Interspecific hybridization plays an important role in sunflower breeding, especially when the variability of the cultivated form has been exhausted and it becomes necessary to look for desirable genes from wild types. During its historical development, sunflower breeding has gone through three phases characterized by the breeding method dominantly employed: (1) mass selection, (2) method of individual selection for developing open pollinated cultivars, and (3) method of sunflower hybrid development. The development of variation in initial breeding material is a primary task in the genetic and breeding programs of sunflower. Methods of molecular breeding are already used in sunflower breeding as tool for acceleration of breeding process. A great number of molecular markers have been developed during last three decades. Their convenience for the use in sunflower breeding depends on the type and goal of research. Major goals in sunflower breeding remain high seed and oil yield, improved oil quality, as well as resistance to different stresses. Broomrape has been the most serious problem in sunflower production in Southern and Eastern Europe leading to considerable yield losses up to 100% and reducing sunflower seed quality. Although genetic resistance is the most effective and feasible control against broomrape, application imidazolinone (IMI) herbicide as post emergence application offers an efficient control to broomrape too. Weed control with transgenic herbicide-resistant genes have been used widely in some crops in the world, but in sunflower only IMI and SU herbicide resistance which is transferred to cultivated sunflower from wild types utilizing backcross breeding is commonly used. Non-oilseed sunflower seeds are used mostly for confectionery as snack but also for feeding birds and small pets. Other direction of non-oil sunflower breeding is creation of ornamental varieties.


Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) breeding MAS Interspecific hybridization Breeding methods Molecular breeding Herbicide resistance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yalcin Kaya
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sinisa Jocic
    • 2
  • Dragana Miladinovic
    • 2
  1. 1.Trakya Agricultural Research InstituteEdirneTurkey
  2. 2.Institute of Field and Vegetable CropsNovi SadSerbia

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