Relationship between spike morphology and habitat of four Aegilops species of section Sitopsis
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This study examines the relationship between spike morphology and natural habitat for 84 accessions of four Aegilops species, belongs to section Sitopsis, Ae. bicornis, Ae. longissima, Ae. searsii, and Ae. sharonensis in genus Aegilops, section Sitopsis, wild relatives of Triticum aestivum L. These species are considered valuable genetic resources for future cultivation and breeding of domesticated wheat. The goals of the study were to: (1) document variation in spike morphology among these four species; (2) examine the relationship between spike morphology and native habitat; (3) document geographical distribution of distinct spike morphology; and (4) examine the relationship between spike morphology and heading time and value for these four species. The results reveal significant differences in spike morphology among species of section Sitopsis. The most noteworthy variation involved the absence/presence of lateral awn, such that species with lateral awn were restricted in coastal, though species without lateral awn were mainly distributed in inland. This suggests that local climate may be a determinant of variation in lateral awn, and that this trait may be subject to convergent evolution. Differences in heading time in sympatric area were also observed. The differences may enhance species divergence and could represent a lead speciation event. The results of this study will facilitate identification of populations or accessions of wild wheat with favorable traits and/or novel adaptive genes.
KeywordsAegilops Awn Convergent evolution GIS Heading time Natural habitat
We thank H. Yamaguchi, Y. Matsuoka, Y. Nakayama and K. Tanno for guidance and suggestions. We also thank Y. Yasui and the staff of the Laboratory of Crop Evolution for help with this study.
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