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Improve sunflower oil production in a sustainable manner

2012 - 2019


The world oilseed production will be faced to an increasing demand in the next thirty years, catapulted by a combination of factors, including an additional demand of edible oil, particularly in emerging countries, and the needs for green energy and chemistry. The sunflower crop represents one of the answers able to face these needs.

World leading seed companies and SME are based in France and are creating there a wide range of employments, from molecular breeders to farmers involved in seed production, while ensuring a continuous genetic progress in integrating the new technologies in their breeding programs (high throughput genome sequencing and phenotyping, bioinformatics,…).

During the past fifteen years, the sunflower yield increase through genetic advance has been slower than before, suggesting that the current resources and breeding methods might not bring solutions in a context of climate change. In order to face the challenges of delivering safe and high-quality food and feed in a sustainable manner while maintaining yield and stability across different environments, a paradigm shift is needed in sunflower breeding.

The near availability of the genome sequences of Helianthus annuus together with the breakthrough created by the new technologies is offering a favorable context to reinforce, through an optimization of the hybrid breeding process, the competitiveness of the French seed industry.

As the result of climate changes, more variability is expected from location to location in the timing and quantity of water availability for crop production. On the long term period, the competitiveness of sunflower chain - seeds, farmers, coops, oil seed industry,... - is highly depending on the stability of oil yield across years and locations. In an unprecedented effort - 7 years and 4 months project, 16 partners including 9 public laboratories with a specific investment of INRA, 6 companies involved in sunflower breeding and the technical institute in charge of oil crops in France (CETIOM) -, SUNRISE offers unique opportunities to accelerate the implementation of the genomic prediction of ideotypes.

Moreover, SUNRISE will combine this approach with the improvement of the sunflower hybrid breeding process: it aims to identify the loci which are the most involved in homeostasis, depending on the parental alleles, and then build new gene pools exhibiting between themselves the better specific combining ability for homeostasis, i.e. yield stability.


Nicolas Langlade
Anne-Sophie Lubrano-Lavadera
LIPM : Laboratoire des Interactions Plantes Microorganismes (UMR INRA 441- CNRS 2594)
AGIR : Agrosystèmes, Gestion des ressources, Innovation et Ruralités (UMR INRA 1248 - ENSAT)
MIAT : Unité de Mathématiques et Informatique Appliquées de Toulouse (UMR INRA 1248 - ENSAT)
CNRGV : Centre National de Ressources Génomiques Végétales (US INRA 1258)
EPGV: Etude du polymorphisme des génomes végétaux (US INRA 1279)
GV : Génétique végétale (UMR INRA 320 - Université Paris Sud - CNRS)
BFP : Biologie du Fruit et Pathologie (UMR INRA 1332 - Université de Bordeaux)
PCMP: Physiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire des Plantes (UR 5, Université Pierre et Marie Curie)
LEREPS : Laboratoire d’Etude et de Recherche sur l’Economie, les Politiques et les Systèmes sociaux (Université Toulouse I - Capitole)
Terres Inovia : Centre Technique Interfprofessionnel des Oléagineux et du Chanvre
BIOGEMMA (Filiale des groupes coopératifs LIMAGRAIN et EURALIS, de la société RAGT, de SOFIPROTEOL et d'UNIGRAINS)
SOLTIS (Filiale de recherche "tournesol" des groupes coopératifs LIMAGRAIN et EURALIS)
Conception Pulsar Informatique