Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 61, Issue 7, pp 1319–1328

Wild almonds gone wild: revisiting Darwin’s statement on the origin of peaches

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10722-014-0113-6

Cite this article as:
Yazbek, M.M. & Al-Zein, M.S. Genet Resour Crop Evol (2014) 61: 1319. doi:10.1007/s10722-014-0113-6


There is a general consensus that cultivated almond was domesticated in western Asia while cultivated peach was domesticated in China; however, the lack of a comprehensive phylogeny of cultivated peaches and almonds and their wild relatives has until recently rendered the controversy over the origin of these plants, their interrelationships and their domestication difficult to decipher. This shortcoming has made Darwin’s hypothesis that peaches are almonds modified in a marvelous manner difficult to test. In this work, Darwin’s hypothesis is revisited based on the first comprehensive molecular and morphological phylogeny of almonds, peaches and their wild relatives. The analysis reveals that cultivated peaches and cultivated almonds are closely related but not sister species. It also reveals that Darwin’s hypothesis was not entirely wrong, particularly considering the species concept he was employing.


Almond Amygdalus Evolution Peach Phylogeny 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Genetic Resources Section, Biodiversity and Integrated Gene Management ProgramInternational Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA)BeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Biology Department, Faculty of Arts and SciencesAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  3. 3.Nature Conservation Center (NCC)American University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

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