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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Martin Carson


Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is one of the four major annual crops grown for its edible oil. Interest in the use of sunflower oil as a cooking oil and in manufactured products is increasing because of its high level of unsaturation. Genetic improvement of oil content is an important selection criterion in nearly every sunflower breeding program. The effectiveness of a selection method for the improvement of oil content will largely depend upon the magnitude of genetic diversity in the source population and the degree to which this character is heritable. Most of the early work on improving oil content in sunflower was initiated in the USSR. Perhaps the most widely used method of increasing oil percentage in early cultivars was the Pustovoit "method of reserves" which is a modified form of mass selection. This method has been effective in increasing oil percentage from about 30% in the early 1920's to over 50% in some cultivars currently grown. Mass selection is a breeding procedure based upon phenotypic selection of individual plants and recombining without progeny testing. The object is to improve the general level of the population for a particular character by selecting and recombining superior genotypes. Mass selection is a relatively simple and inexpensive breeding method for plant breeders to employ into their breeding programs. Although selection is based on the phenotype, its purpose is to obtain a greater frequency of superior genotypes within the population. Phenotypic variance among individual plants includes genetic variances among plants within the population and all types of environmental variances within the selection block. The effectiveness of mass selection is dependent upon the accuracy with which phenotype reflects genotype. Mass selection utilizes additive genetic variance by accumulating genes for a particular character of interest. The use of mass selection to increase oil content of the seed has been used in sunflower, but few critical studies have been conducted to evaluate its effectiveness. The objectives of the research were to: 1. Evaluate the effectiveness of mass selection as a breeding method for increasing oil percentage in a sunflower restorer population, SDHARl; and 2. Determine the effects that selection for increased oil percent has on other traits affecting hybrid performance.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sunflowers -- Seeds -- Genetics

Sunflower seed oil



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University