Sunflowers are providing an example of how wild relatives of crop plants can help improve those crops, according to the American Society of Agronomy. Sunflower ranks fifth among crops important for global food security in the use of traits from wild relatives, say researchers. Wild relatives have helped plant breeders develop sunflowers resistant to diseases such as powdery mildew and sunflower rust, as well as varieties that can grow in adverse conditions. This highlights the importance of maintaining the genetic diversity found in these wild relatives, and of developing and sharing detailed information about their genetic diversity.
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