Know more

Our use of cookies

Cookies are a set of data stored on a user’s device when the user browses a web site. The data is in a file containing an ID number, the name of the server which deposited it and, in some cases, an expiry date. We use cookies to record information about your visit, language of preference, and other parameters on the site in order to optimise your next visit and make the site even more useful to you.

To improve your experience, we use cookies to store certain browsing information and provide secure navigation, and to collect statistics with a view to improve the site’s features. For a complete list of the cookies we use, download “Ghostery”, a free plug-in for browsers which can detect, and, in some cases, block cookies.

Ghostery is available here for free:

You can also visit the CNIL web site for instructions on how to configure your browser to manage cookie storage on your device.

In the case of third-party advertising cookies, you can also visit the following site:, offered by digital advertising professionals within the European Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA). From the site, you can deny or accept the cookies used by advertising professionals who are members.

It is also possible to block certain third-party cookies directly via publishers:

Cookie type

Means of blocking

Analytical and performance cookies

Google Analytics

Targeted advertising cookies


The following types of cookies may be used on our websites:

Mandatory cookies

Functional cookies

Social media and advertising cookies

These cookies are needed to ensure the proper functioning of the site and cannot be disabled. They help ensure a secure connection and the basic availability of our website.

These cookies allow us to analyse site use in order to measure and optimise performance. They allow us to store your sign-in information and display the different components of our website in a more coherent way.

These cookies are used by advertising agencies such as Google and by social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Among other things, they allow pages to be shared on social media, the posting of comments, and the publication (on our site or elsewhere) of ads that reflect your centres of interest.

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) uses CAS and PHP session cookies and the New Relic cookie for monitoring purposes (IP, response times).

These cookies are deleted at the end of the browsing session (when you log off or close your browser window)

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) uses the XiTi cookie to measure traffic. Our service provider is AT Internet. This company stores data (IPs, date and time of access, length of the visit and pages viewed) for six months.

Our EZPublish content management system (CMS) does not use this type of cookie.

For more information about the cookies we use, contact INRA’s Data Protection Officer by email at or by post at:

24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo TULIP Nouveau bandeau tutelles EN


The sunflower genome reveals the orchestration of genes involved in oil production and flowering

sunflower genome reveals orchestration of genes involved in oil production and flowering
© Floyd Manzano
Less than a year after the deciphering of the sunflower genome, its in-depth analysis by a LIPM team (TULIP laboratory) led to the identification of hundreds of genes that works together to regulate flowering or oil production. The results are published in Nature (online) on May 22th, 2017.

Led by INRA scientists as part of the SUNRISE Future Investments Program project and in collaboration with the International Consortium of Sunflower Genomic Resources, these first results will help to design the cultivated varieties of the future, which are better performing and better Adapted to the necessary changes in agriculture in response to new environmental requirements, particularly in the context of climate change. These new varieties will also have to respond to food and industrial uses but also to the economic stakes of the sector.

Producing a better quality oil

The cultivated sunflower genes have been selected over the course of history: on the one hand, with the domestication of wild species by North American Indians, and on the other hand with the varietal selection carried out by crossing the most efficient varieties. The objective was to improve the characteristics of agronomic interest, such as disease resistance or oil yield. Today, thanks to the deciphering of the reference genome of sunflower, the identification of genes of agronomic interest is more precise and faster (at least three times faster).

The researchers thus compared the DNA of eighty varieties of sunflower selectedfor their characteristics of oil or seed production. The analysis of the differences, coupled with fundamental data, allowed the scientists to construct the complete panorama of the network of genes involved in the production of oil but also to identify the most interesting in terms of agronomic potential. This result will meet both consumer demand for the nutritional quality of the oil and that of agri-food manufacturers on its technological potential to make their production lines more sustainable and more efficient.

The date of flowering: a key to adapt the crop to different climates

INRA scientists have discovered that the sunflower genome, unlike the genomes of plants of the same family (as lettuce or artichoke), suffered a doubling of their size approximately 30 million years ago. This "recent" duplication explains the high number of genes in the current sunflower (over 52,000 genes). Despite this complexity, researchers have succeeded in identifying genes that express themselves specifically in the floral organs or that control the flowering date. Knowledge of the organization of these genes on the genome will serve to accelerate the process of varietal improvement of the sunflower. Thus, a wide range of precocities will be made available to farmers to allow the cultivation of sunflower in a greater number of regions.

The genome: a key asset for adapting culture to climate change and fighting diseases

Sunflower is one of the crop species that requires the least inputs and is water-efficient. In order to optimize these advantages in the context of global warming and the emergence of more aggressive parasites, the research team will now study the genes of wild varieties that confer capacity to develop during periods of severe drought or the ability to Resist the attacks of parasites that colonize crop areas. These genes can be selected and transferred to cultivated varieties to develop new varieties.

Badouin H., Gouzy J., Grassa C.J., Murat F., Staton S.E., Cottret L., Lelandais-Brière C., Owens G., Carrère S., Mayjonade B., Legrand L., Gill N., Kane N.C., Bowers J.E., Hubner S., Bellec A., Bérard A., Bergès H., Blanchet N., Boniface M.-C., Brunel D., Catrice O., Chaidir N., Claudel C., Donnadieu C., Faraut T., Fievet G., Helmstetter N., King M., Knapp S.J., Lai Z., Le Paslier M.-C., Lippi Y., Lorenzon L., Jennifer Mandel, Marage G., Marchand G., Marquand E., Bret-Mestries E., Morien E., Nambeesan S., Nguyen T., Pégot-Espagnet P., Pouilly N., Raftis F., Sallet, E., Schiex, T., Thomas, J., Vandecasteele, C., Varès, D., Vear, F., Vautrin, S., Crespi, M., Mangin, B., Burke, J.M., Salse, J., Muños, S., Vincourt, P., Rieseberg, L.H., Langlade, N.B., 2017. The sunflower genome provides insights into oil metabolism, flowering and Asterid evolution.Nature in press. doi:10.1038/nature22380

See also

Scientific contact

Nicolas Langlade
Laboratoire des Interactions Plantes-Microorganismes (Inra-CNRS)
Tél. : 05 61 28 57 78
Départements scientifiques SPE, BAP
Centre Inra Occitanie-Toulouse

Press contact

Inra service de presse
Tél. : 01 42 75 91 86

Toulouse Press contact

Anne-Sophie Lubrano-Lavadera
Tél. : 05 61 28 55 61