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Contribution of the Argentine Germplasm to the Improvement of Sunflower

González, J., Mancuso, N., Alvarez, D., Cordes, D., Vázquez, A.
Helia 2015 v.38 no.62 pp. 121-140
Helianthus annuus, Verticillium wilt, breeding, cultivars, disease resistance, downy mildew, genetic improvement, germplasm, herbicides, hybrids, inbred lines, lipid content, oleic acid, open pollination, rust diseases, seeds, Argentina
The sunflower breeding carried out in Argentina constitutes a valuable contribution to the spreading of the crop both locally and internationally. Exchange among breeders at international level makes it possible to achieve objectives that would be restricted if only local germplasm were available (lack of variability). The National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) has had a sunflower genetic breeding program at Pergamino Experimental Station (EEA) since 1939 and another program at Manfredi Experimental Station (EEA) since 1950 with the overall goal of contributing to increase the rate of genetic progress of the crop. At first the program development open pollination varieties using the populations which were introduced both by immigrants adapted to local conditions and by intercrossing them. With the development of cytoplasmic androsterility in the 1970s, the programs focused on producing inbred lines to develop hybrids. The varieties and lines were made available to other breeders in a scheme of exchange that allowed INTA, other national breeders and breeders from other countries to obtain new materials. In this way it became clear the great wealth of INTA germplasm for resistance to major crop diseases such as Verticillium wilt, rust and downy mildew. Other important traits improved were the increase of seed weight and tolerance to bird damage by adding striated seeds and decumbent heads. Also by its origin INTA germplasm enabled the increase of oil content, improvements in the quality and specialties (high oleic acid, confectionery) and tolerance to herbicides (imidazolinone), while maintaining the performance and health of the materials. This paper describes the origins and characteristics of INTA lines and also their use in other breeding programs for the creation of new cultivars.