Problems of drought are of major importance in Europe and improvement of varieties through plant breeding is a crucial step toward a better exploitation of water. A reduction in irrigation needs would reduce cultural costs and limit water drainage contributing to nitrogen pollution. The object is to create genotypes of sunflower that are tolerant to water stress. The first step is the creation of a sunflower collection of about 30 lines, from both cultivated and wild varieties.
Selection was carried out using in vitro methods and 90 varieties were screened for the next step. 40 were classified as resistant to drought and the rest will be used for control purposes. Besides in vitro selection, hybrid seeds were produced by artificial crosses between selected lines and these will be used to establish field experiments in France, Italy and Spain to assess their response to drought. Construction was initiated of a library of complementary deoxyribonucleic acid (cDNA) clones corresponding to messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) present in drought resistant plants but not present in drought sensitive ones. Using low and high foliar permeability genotypes, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) probes related to low and high foliar permeability were isolated.
Problems of drought are nowadays of major importance in Europe. Improvement of varieties through plant breeding is a crucial step toward a better valorisation of water. The objective of this project is to create water-stress tolerant genotypes of sunflower.
Starting from a transnational collection of sunflower which is composed of 30 numbers of lines, cultivated and interspecific pools, the project will use in vitro and in campo selections. The in vitro selection will be carried out separately with two osmoticum which reduced osmotic pressures in order to compare their action. In campo selection will be done on agronomical traits (yield, oil content, ...) and ecophysiological traits (speed of leaves desiccation, relative water content, ...) with two treatments : irrigated and not irrigated.
Concurrently, molecular biology methods will be used in order to produce RFLP probes. Those last probes will be then screened on the genotypes provided by the above selection experiments.
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