Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 429–439 | Cite as

Genetics of brittleness in wild, domesticated and feral einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum L.) and the place of origin of feral einkorn

  • Andrea BrandoliniEmail author
  • Manfred Heun
Research Article


The status of Triticum boeoticum subsp. aegilopoides (Link) Schiem. is somehow confusing, suggesting a need to verify whether this subspecies is a truly wild or a feral form. After reviewing some rather inaccessible older literature, a half-diallel of three pure einkorn lines (truly wild, domesticated and aegilopoides) was performed. The F2 and F3 analyses of brittleness and microscope-based studies of the abscission scars on rachis fragments were combined with extant genome maps. Two QTL segregated in the cross domesticated × wild (one on chromosome 4 and one on chromosome 7), but only one segregated in the cross feral × wild (same as before on chromosome 7), indicating that the feral form carried a wild (or equivalent) allele. Within the cross domesticated × feral, quantitative segregation occurred and could be caused by some neat abscission scars, but without the typical ‘fish-mouth-like’ appearance of the truly wild form. We suggest that aegilopoides and domesticated einkorn emerged in patches of semi-brittle mutants in the Karacadağ Mountains and were collected and maintained by humans. When agriculture moved from South-East Turkey into Western Turkey and later into the Balkans, aegilopoides became the feral form we know today, characterized by a semi-brittle rachis that makes it less wild compared to the truly wild Triticum boeoticum subsp. thaoudar (Reut. ex Hausskn.) Grossh.


Abscission scar aegilopoides thaoudar Triticum boeoticum Triticum monococcum 



We are indebted to Dr. Andrea Volante for his skillful management of the progenies and for scoring the brittleness of the F2 spikes. Dr. Rosanna Marino significantly contributed in the preparation of the molecular maps. Appreciation goes to Dr. Massimo Confalonieri for his assistance in the photographs of the abscission scars. Prof. RTJ Cappers kindly allowed MH the examination of the Çayönü material. Special thanks to Prof. F. Salamini and Prof. B.I. Honne for critically reviewing the manuscript.


This work was supported by the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway (Grant No. 1750030012; Title: Bidrag til genetiske analyser).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10722_2018_721_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (71 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 71 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREA Research Centre for Animal Production and AquacultureS. Angelo LodigianoItaly
  2. 2.Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA)Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)ÅsNorway

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