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Abstract Detail

Economic Botany: History of Plants and People

Lentz, David [1], Bye, Robert [2], Sanchez-Cordero, Victor [3].

New Evidence for Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) Origins and an Ecological Niche Model for Its Distribution in Mexico.

RECENT discoveries of ancient domesticated sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) seeds in Mexico have opened new hypotheses about the origin of agriculture in North America. It’s long been thought that eastern North America was the only center of sunflower domestication, because before the Mexican discoveries, all early Precolumbian sunflower remains came from eastern North America. The fact that four-thousand-year-old H. annuus remains from Mexico pre-date the earliest domesticated sunflower remains from the U.S. by about 1,500 years, implies that the crop may have had more than one center of origin. Locating the ancestral populations of sunflower is important, not only for anthropological reasons, but also for future crop breeding purposes and conservation efforts, as well. Underscoring this assertion is the fact that sunflower is the world’s third most important oil-seed crop, with a commodity exchange worth billions. Wild populations closely related to our crop plants and indigenous landraces provide an invaluable reservoir of genetic diversity that can help to make our cultigens more disease resistant, more cold hardy and more drought tolerant. Investigations are currently underway to document the modern distribution of wild populations, indigenous landraces and the potential distribution of sunflower in Mexico.

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Related Links:
Website with reverences and more information on sunflower

1 - Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois, 60022, USA
2 - Jardin Botanico-Unam, Apdo Postal 70-226, Mexico, DF, 04510, Mexico
3 - Instituto de Biologia, UNAM, Mexico City, MX, , Mexico

Helianthus annuus L.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 46-2
Location: 304/Bell Memorial Union
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 10:45 AM
Abstract ID:881

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