The structure of wild and domesticated emmer wheat populations, gene flow between them, and the site of emmer domestication
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- Luo, MC., Yang, ZL., You, F.M. et al. Theor Appl Genet (2007) 114: 947. doi:10.1007/s00122-006-0474-0
The domestication of emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum spp. dicoccoides, genomes BBAA) was one of the key events during the emergence of agriculture in southwestern Asia, and was a prerequisite for the evolution of durum and common wheat. Single- and multilocus genotypes based on restriction fragment length polymorphism at 131 loci were analyzed to describe the structure of populations of wild and domesticated emmer and to generate a picture of emmer domestication and its subsequent diffusion across Asia, Europe and Africa. Wild emmer consists of two populations, southern and northern, each further subdivided. Domesticated emmer mirrors the geographic subdivision of wild emmer into the northern and southern populations and also shows an additional structure in both regions. Gene flow between wild and domesticated emmer occurred across the entire area of wild emmer distribution. Emmer was likely domesticated in the Diyarbakir region in southeastern Turkey, which was followed by subsequent hybridization and introgression from wild to domesticated emmer in southern Levant. A less likely scenario is that emmer was domesticated independently in the Diyarbakir region and southern Levant, and the Levantine genepool was absorbed into the genepool of domesticated emmer diffusing from southeastern Turkey. Durum wheat is closely related to domesticated emmer in the eastern Mediterranean and likely originated there.