A new $10.5 million research project is ready to get started at the University of British Columbia under project leader Dr. Loren Rieseberg has aims of developing a reference genome for the entire sunflower family. The sunflower family is the last agriculturally important plant family that doesn’t already have a reference genome. This family of plants is also current the largest family of plants in the world with 24,000 species. An article on Science Daily describes the possible advances in sunflower breeding that could be achieved with this new knowledge. Perhaps hybrid sunflowers could be produced that could produce both large amounts of edible seeds and large woody stocks that could be used for cellulostic ethanol production.
New Respect for an Old Crop, Sunflowers!