The structure of the Aegilops tauschii genepool and the evolution of hexaploid wheat
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Polymorphism in the lengths of restriction fragments at 53 single-copy loci, the rRNA locus Nor3, and the high-molecular-weight glutenin locus Glu1 was investigated in the D genome of hexaploid Triticum aestivum and that of Aegilops tauschii, the source of the T. aestivum D genome. The distribution of genetic variation in Ae. tauschii suggests gene flow between Ae. tauschii ssp. strangulata and ssp. tauschii in Iran but less in Transcaucasia. The “strangulata” genepool is wider than it appears on the basis of morphology and includes ssp. strangulata in Transcaucasia and southeastern (SE) Caspian Iran and ssp. tauschii in north-central Iran and southwestern (SW) Caspian Iran. In the latter region, Ae. tauschii morphological varieties ‘meyeri’ and ‘typica’ are equidistant to ssp. strangulata in Transcaucasia, and both belong to the “strangulata” genepool. A model of the evolution of Ae. tauschii is presented. On the geographic region basis, the D genomes of all investigated forms of T. aestivum are most closely related to the “strangulata” genepool in Transcaucasia, Armenia in particular, and SW Caspian Iran. It is suggested that the principal area of the origin of T. aestivum is Armenia, but the SW coastal area of the Caspian Sea and a corridor between the two areas may have played a role as well. Little genetic differentiation was found among the D genomes of all investigated free-threshing and hulled forms of T. aestivum, and all appear to share a single D-genome genepool, in spite of the fact that several Ae. tauschii parents were involved in the evolution of T. aestivum.
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