Perennial agriculture has been proposed as an option to improve the sustainability of cropping systems, by increasing the efficiency of resource use, while also providing ecosystem services. Neo-domestication, the contemporary domestication of plants that have not previously been used in agriculture, can be used to generate new crops for these systems. Here we explore the potential of a tetraploid (2n = 4x = 68) interspecific hybrid sunflower as a perennial oilseed for use in multifunctional agricultural systems. A population of this novel tetraploid was obtained from crosses between the annual diploid oilseed crop Helianthus annuus (2n = 2x = 34) and the perennial hexaploid tuber crop Helianthus tuberosus (2n = 6x = 102). We selected for classic domestication syndrome traits for three generations. Substantial phenotypic gains were made, in some cases approaching 320%. We also analyzed the genetic basis of tuber production (i.e., perenniality), with the goal of obtaining molecular markers that could be used to facilitate future breeding in this system. Results from quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping suggest that tuber production has an oligogenic genetic basis. Overall, this study indicates that substantial gains towards domestication goals can be achieved over contemporary time scales.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative and the University of Minnesota Varietal Development Fund and HATCH award 71-055 and MN Department of Agriculture Award Number CON000000057187.
Acknowledgments: This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative and the University of Minnesota Varietal Development Fund and HATCH award 71-055 and MN Department of Agriculture Award Number CON000000057187.
- Domestication syndrome
- Rapid evolution
- Sustainable agriculture