Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 247-262

First online:

Chloroplast DNA variation between species of Triticum and Aegilops. Location of the variation on the chloroplast genome and its relevance to the inheritance and classification of the cytoplasm

  • C. M. BowmanAffiliated withPlant Breeding Institute
  • , G. BonnardAffiliated withPlant Breeding Institute
  • , T. A. DyerAffiliated withPlant Breeding Institute

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Restriction endonuclease analysis revealed interspecific and intraspecific variation between the chloroplast DNAs and therefore between the cytoplasms of 14 selected species of Triticum and Aegilops. Eleven distinct chloroplast DNA types were detected, the differences between them residing in the varied combination of a relatively few DNA alterations.

The variation was simple enough for chloroplast DNA analysis to be used as a basis for the identification and classification of the Triticum and Aegilops cytoplasms. There was good agreement with the classification based on analysis of the phenotypic effects of the cytoplasm when combined with the T. aestivum nucleus in nuclear-cytoplasmic hybrids (Tsunewaki et al. 1976). There was however no correlation between specific chloroplast DNA alterations and any of the phenotypic effects known to be associated with specific cytoplasms.

Although the diploid species examined included all those which have been suggested as possible donors of the cytoplasm and the B genome to T. aestivum, none of the chosen accessions belonged to the same cytoplasmic class as T. aestivum itself, except that of the tetraploid T. dicoccoides. Therefore, none of the diploid accessions analysed was the B genome donor. The analyses did however support several other suggestions which have been made concerning wheat ancestry. Scoring the different chloroplast DNA types according to the rarity of their banding patterns indicated that four of the eleven cytoplasms are of relatively recent origin.

The DNA alterations most easily detectable by the limited comparison of the eleven Triticum/Aegilops chloroplast DNA types using only 4 endonucleases were insertions and deletions. These ranged between approximately 50 bp and 1,200 bp in size and most of them were clustered in 2 segments of the large single-copy region of the genome. Only two examples of the loss of restriction endonuclease sites through possible point mutations were observed. No variation was detected in the inverted repeat regions. Several of the deletions and insertions map close to known chloroplast protein genes, and there is also an indication that the more variable regions of the chloroplast genome may contain sequences which have allowed DNA recombination and rearrangement to occur.

Key words

Triticum Aegilops Chloroplast DNA Cytoplasmic inheritance Wheat evolution The B genome donor Restriction mapping Insertions Deletions