See more from this Session: Crop Breeding and Genetics: Soybean and Oilseed Crops
Wednesday, October 19, 2011: 3:30 PM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 206B, Concourse Level
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is an oilseed crop considered to be one of the most drought tolerant crops in the world. An extensive rooting system gives safflower the ability to utilize water unavailable to most crops and scavenge nutrients leached down the soil profile. Recently characterized safflower accessions have the ability to be seeded in the fall and harvested in the spring, giving farmers a valuable alternative to incorporate into crop rotations. A large amount of genetic diversity between safflower accessions offers the potential for improved agricultural traits. Traditional plant breeding has made improvements to this crop, but little molecular work has been done to date. Using molecular markers, our goal is to further characterize inter and intra-safflower accession diversity in hopes of increasing oil content and producing a profitable crop for farmers in the Lower Great Plains of the U.S. and other arid regions across the globe. Recently a mini-core collection of safflower representing the wide range of diversity within the species was characterized using AFLP analysis. Using SSR molecular marker techniques, we plan to further characterize this mini-core collection in addition to several known winter-hardy safflower accessions. We will be specifically looking to identify markers associated with increased oil content, modified fatty acid composition, and winter hardiness. With the aid of such molecular markers, improved winter safflower cultivars could provide farmers a profitable crop in conditions where other crops would struggle to compete.