Following hybridization experiments and cytogenetic analysis of interspecific hybrids three chromosome interchanges were found between the cultivated lentil L. culinaris and L. nigricans, and only one between the cultivated species and L. orientalis. This indicates that the latter species is more likely to be wild progenitor of lentil. The partial fertility of the interspecific hybrids indicate further that both L. nigricans and L. orientalis should be included in the wild genepool of lentil, and their variation can be exploited by relatively simple hybridization techniques. The wild lentils L. orientalis and L. nigricans are morphologically very similar but reproductively strongly isolated from one another by the albino seedling of their hybrids. It has been suggested that the populations of L. orientalis that gave rise to the cultivated lentil still possess a similar chromosome arrangement as in L. culinaris and are also capable of forming normal hybrids with L. nigricans. According to these considerations it is unlikely that lentil originated from populations at the south western corner of the distribution area of L. orientalis.
Index wordsTaxonomy cultivated plants domestication hybridization chromosome associations Lens culinaris Lens orientalis Lens nigricans
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