U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



S.K. Gupta (ed.), Technological Innovations in Major World Oil Crops, Volume 1: Breeding; DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-0356-2_6.


Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is an ancient crop with numerous past and present uses. Traditionally safflower was grown for its flowers, which were used as a fabric dye and for food coloring, flavoring, and medicinal purposes. Today, as a result of manipulation of well-characterized germplasm resources, it has become an important oil seed crop, bred for specialty niches through the development of healthier or more heat stable oil constituents, winter hardiness, and disease resistance. Molecular methodology has facilitated characterization of the world-wide diversity of safflower and identified geographical regions of similarity to assist breeders in the exploitation of available diversity. The development of molecular markers from expressed sequences should aid researchers in mapping genes of importance and reducing population size and generations required for the development of new varieties by using marker-assisted selection. Sequencing technology has established relationships among species of Carthamus, further aiding in the exploitation of diversity within the secondary gene pool. A coordinated, collaborative effort among safflower researchers in the development of marker-assisted characterization of global diversity would further increase the utility of available germplasm resources.