Broomrape is a root parasitic plant causing yield losses in sunflower production. Since sunflower is an important oil crop, the development of broomrape-resistant hybrids is the prime breeding objective. Using conventional plant breeding methods, breeders have identified resistant genes and developed a number of hybrids resistant to broomrape, adapted to different growing regions worldwide. However, the spread of broomrape into new countries and the development of new and more virulent races have been noted intensively. Recent advances in sunflower genomics provide additional tools for plant breeders to improve resistance and find durable solutions for broomrape spread and virulence. This review describes the structure and distribution of new, virulent physiological broomrape races, sources of resistance for introduction into susceptible cultivated sunflower, qualitative and quantitative resistance genes along with gene pyramiding and marker assisted selection (MAS) strategies applied in the process of increasing sunflower resistance. In addition, it presents an overview of underutilized biotechnological tools, such as phenotyping, -omics, and genome editing techniques, which need to be introduced in the study of sunflower resistance to broomrape in order to achieve durable resistance.
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