Allelic diversity associated with aridity gradient in wild emmer wheat populations

Zvi Peleg, Yehoshua Saranga, Tamar Krugman, Shahal Abbo, Eviatar Nevo, Tzion Fahima*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The association between allelic diversity and ecogeographical variables was studied in natural populations of wild emmer wheat [Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides (Körn.) Thell.], the tetraploid progenitor of cultivated wheat. Patterns of allelic diversity in 54 microsatellite loci were analyzed in a collection of 145 wild emmer wheat accessions representing 25 populations that were sampled across naturally occurring aridity gradient in Israel and surrounding regions. The obtained results revealed that 56% of the genetic variation resided among accessions within populations, while only 44% of the variation resided between populations. An unweighted pair-group method analysis (UPGMA) tree constructed based on the microsatellite allelic diversity divided the 25 populations into six major groups. Several groups were comprised of populations that were collected in ecologically similar but geographically remote habitats. Furthermore, genetic differentiation between populations was independent of the geographical distances. An interesting evolutionary phenomenon is highlighted by the unimodal relationship between allelic diversity and annual rainfall (r = 0.74, P < 0.0002), indicating higher allelic diversity in populations originated from habitats with intermediate environmental stress (i.e. rainfall 350-550 mm year-1). These results show for the first time that the 'intermediate-disturbance hypothesis', explaining biological diversity at the ecosystem level, also dominates the genetic diversity within a single species, the lowest hierarchical element of the biological diversity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Climatic gradient
  • Ecosystem services
  • Fluctuating selection
  • Intermediate-disturbance hypothesis
  • Microsatellite markers
  • Natural selection
  • Triticum turgidum spp. dicoccoides


Dive into the research topics of 'Allelic diversity associated with aridity gradient in wild emmer wheat populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this