, Volume 160, Issue 1-2, pp 1-28

Evolution and systematic relationships in theTriticeae (Poaceae)

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Abstract

The evolution and taxonomic relationships in theTriticeae are discussed with the view to highlight aspects of this agronomically important group of plants, which may be of interest to molecular biology. Some of these aspects are addressed in more detail in adjoining papers in which specific genomic loci have been examined at the DNA sequence or isozyme level. Aspects discussed include the systematics and geographic distribution of theTriticeae species, isozyme and chromosome pairing studies on some of the species as well as more recent developments in DNA analyses. A survey of the systematics of theTriticeae indicated that the genomic system ofLöve is probably the most useful starting point for interpreting molecular data even though the system has many problems from a taxonomic point of view. The geographical distribution ofTriticeae species, using both published and unpublished data, suggested that information of this type taken together with the theory of continental drift provides a broad time-span for considering data from DNA sequence studies. The significance, and modes of analyses, of isozyme studies were assessed because they often provide valuable characters in determining relationships between species. The main character underlyingLöve's andDewey's analyses of theTriticeae, namely chromosome pairing, is discussed with particular reference to isozyme studies to show that in some cases, such as species ofHordeum sensu lato, consistent relationships are obtained. Finally, new developments in understanding chromosome structure are considered in relation to the above variables in the taxonomy and evolution of theTriticeae.