GluDy allele variations in Aegilops tauschii and Triticum aestivum: implications for the origins of hexaploid wheats

Rachel J Giles, Terence A Brown
TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik 2006, 112 (8): 1563-72
To investigate the evolution and geographical origins of hexaploid wheat, we examined a 284 bp sequence from the promoter region of the GluDy locus, coding for the y subunit of high-molecular-weight glutenin. Fourteen different alleles were found in 100 accessions of Aegilops tauschii and 169 of Triticum aestivum. Two alleles were present in both species; the other 7 alleles from Ae. tauschii and 5 from T. aestivum were unique to their respective species. The two shared alleles differed at only one nucleotide position within the region sequenced, but their apparent association with the common haplotypes GluD1a and GluD1d, which have substantial differences within their GluDy coding regions, makes it unlikely that the alleles evolved independently in Ae. tauschii and T. aestivum. The results therefore support previous studies which suggest that there were at least two Ae. tauschii sources that contributed germplasm to the D genome of T. aestivum. The number of alleles present in T. aestivum, and the nucleotide diversity of these alleles, indicates that this region of the D genome has undergone relatively rapid change since polyploidisation. Ae. tauschii from Syria and Turkey had relatively high nucleotide diversity and possessed all the major GluDy alleles, indicating that these populations are probably ancient and not the result of adventive spread. The presence in the Turkish population of both of the shared alleles suggests that hexaploid wheat is likely to have originated in southeast Turkey or northern Syria, within the Fertile Crescent and near to the farming villages at which archaeological remains of hexaploid wheats are first found. A second, more recent, hexaploidisation probably occurred in Iran.

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