Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 61, Issue 7, pp 1329–1344 | Cite as

Aegilops tauschii Coss.: allelic variation of enzyme-encoding genes and ecological differentiation of the species

Research Article


Three hundred and seven accessions of Aegilops tauschii Coss., including 160 of subsp. tauschii and 147 of subsp. strangulata, representing all the species range—from Turkey to Kirgizstan, were analyzed electrophoretically. Twenty polymorphic enzyme-encoding loci were studied, 10 of which were essentially polymorphic in Ae. tauschii. Climatic data for each of the 307 Ae. tauschii habitats were taken from WORLDCLIM database of computer system ArcGIS. Forty-nine climatic parameters were considered: precipitation, minimum, mean and maximum temperatures for each month, and also the total annual level of precipitation. The data were analyzed with multivariate statistical methods, such as Principal Components Analysis (PCA), Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) and Two-Block Partial Least Squares. Variability of climatic conditions among Ae. tauschii habitats is reflected by the two approximately orthogonal “vectors”. The “first vector” is mostly determined by negative impact of precipitation and minimum temperatures during winter. The “second vector” is mostly determined by negative impact of maximum temperatures during summer, and positive impact of precipitation during late spring and summer. Aegilops tauschii is essentially variable along the “second vector”, and especially high level of variation is characteristic for subsp. tauschii. This variation reflects that Ae. tauschii is very tolerable to the climatic variation during summer season. Aegilops tauschii subsp. strangulata is also characterized by the high level of variation along the “first vector”. Moreover, all the habitats of subsp. strangulata fall into the two distinct separate clusters: the habitats in Precaspian Iran, which have the highest minimum temperatures in winter,—and all the other habitats. In the plot of the first two factors of PCA, the “cluster of Precaspian Iran” can be further divided into “Western Precaspian Iran (WPI)”, having relatively higher level of annual rainfall, and relatively dryer “Eastern Precaspian Iran (EPI)”. This three groups of subsp. strangulata accessions, from WPI, EPI and other areas, are also distinctly differed in enzyme-encoding genes allelic variation, as revealed on the plot of the first two axes of MCA. In contrast to subsp. strangulata, the level of variation of subsp. tauschii along the “first vector” is rather low. It was pointed out that variation along “the first vector” reflects adaptive intraspecies divergence of Ae. tauschii: its subspecies strangulata “prefers” the habitats of seaside climate, with warm and moist winter; while subsp. tauschii mostly occupies the habitats with rather continental climate, with relatively cold and dry winter. Allelic variation of enzyme-encoding genes Acph1, Ak, Est2, Est5, Got1, Got2, and Got3 correlate with climate along “the first vector”. Apparently, polymorphism of these loci were involved into the process of Ae. tauschii intraspecies adaptive divergence. Allelic variation of Cat2 and Fdp loci correspond to climatic variation along “the second vector” in subsp. tauschii. Therefore Cat2 and Fdp are likely to be among the genes which polymorphism “helped” subsp. tauschii to succeed in vast geographical expansion far to the east from Caspian Sea.


Aegilops tauschii Allozymes Ecological differentiation Intraspecies divergence Natural selection 



I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Denis Popov, Prof. Vadim M. Efimov and Dr. Vera S. Bogdanova for the help in the course of this study. I am also very grateful to the Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Karl Hammer and the anonymous reviewer for the detailed comments which helped much to amend the manuscript. The work was supported by Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research, grant 13-04-01117-a.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1799 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cytology and GeneticsNovosibirskRussia

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