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Over the last 50 years, sunflower has become an increasingly important source of calories in global diets. The crop is mainly cultivated in sub-tropical and tropical regions and its annual global production value is around USD 18 billion.

Improving the oil content of sunflower varieties and hybrids continues to be one of the main breeding targets. However, new objectives are arising because of environmental challenges and changes in consumer habits. These include maintaining good yields under dry conditions, enhancing oil quality and increasing the protein content of sunflower meal.

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