Sunflower DNA Map Could Produce Plants for Fuel – ABC News

A $10.5 million research project aimed at mapping the DNA sequence of sunflowers could one day yield a towering new variety for both food and fuel.

Researchers envision crossbreeding a standard sunflower with the Silverleaf species out of Texas to produce a hybrid with bright yellow flowers bursting with tasty seeds and thick stalks filled with complex sugars that can be turned into ethanol.

The wild, drought-resistant Silverleaf is known for its woody stalks, which can grow up 15 feet tall and 4 inches in diameter.

“Since it’s the closest relative of the cultivated sunflower, it should be perhaps reasonably straightforward to move some of the traits,” said Loren Rieseberg, a University of British Columbia botany professor and leader of the DNA sequencing project.

via Sunflower DNA Map Could Produce Plants for Fuel – ABC News.

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