Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 131, Issue 5, pp 1125–1132 | Cite as

Sequence divergence between spelt and common wheat

  • Miao Liu
  • Qiang Zhao
  • Feng Qi
  • Jiri Stiller
  • Shican Tang
  • Jiashun Miao
  • Jan Vrána
  • Kateřina Holušová
  • Dengcai Liu
  • Jaroslav Doležel
  • John M. Manners
  • Bin Han
  • Chunji Liu
Original Article


Key message

Sequence comparison between spelt and common wheat reveals that the former has huge potential in enriching the genetic variation of the latter.


Genetic variation is the foundation of crop improvement. By comparing genome sequences of a Triticum spelta accession and one of its derived hexaploid lines with the sequences of the international reference genotype Chinese Spring, we detected variants more than tenfold higher than those present among common wheat (T. aestivum L) genotypes. Furthermore, different from the typical ‘V-shaped’ pattern of variant distribution often observed along wheat chromosomes, the sequence variation detected in this study was more evenly distributed along the 3B chromosome. This was also the case between T. spelta and the wild emmer genome. Genetic analysis showed that T. spelta and common wheat formed discrete groups. These results showed that, although it is believed that the spelt and common wheat are evolutionarily closely related and belong to the same species, a significant sequence divergence exists between them. Thus, the values of T. spelta in enriching the genetic variation of common wheat can be huge.



Work reported here was supported by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization (CSIRO), Australia (Project code: R-10191-01), and a Chinese Academy of Sciences-CSIRO Joint Project (Project No. R-1910-1). ML is grateful to the Sichuan Agricultural University and the China Scholarship Council for funding his visit to CSIRO. JV, KH, and JD were supported by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (Award LO 1204 from the National Program of Sustainability I).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

122_2018_3064_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3495 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIRO Agriculture and FoodSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Crop Research Institute, Sichuan Academy of Agricultural SciencesChengduChina
  3. 3.Triticeae Research InstituteSichuan Agricultural UniversityWenjiang, ChengduChina
  4. 4.National Center for Gene ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  5. 5.Institute of Experimental Botany, Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural ResearchOlomoucCzech Republic

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