Using diversity of the chloroplast genome to examine evolutionary history of wheat species
Emmer wheat, Triticum dicoccon Schrank was one of the founder crops of Neolithic agriculture. Though its cultivation was largely replaced by hexaploid wheats 2000 years ago, pockets of small scale cultivation can still be found. One such area is the Asturias region of Northern Spain, where emmer wheat remains a traditional crop for high value specialist culinary uses, and farmers grow locally adapted landraces. In order to study the diversity of these landraces, we sampled emmer wheat from different regions of Asturias, and genotyped multiple plants from each village using nuclear and chloroplast microsatellites. A high level of variation was observed with markers from both genomes, including a novel chloroplast haplotype. A strong geographic structure was observed in the Asturian emmer wheats in both the chloroplast markers and the nuclear microsatellite data.