Identification of Aegilops L. species and Triticum aestivum L. based on chloroplast DNA

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The genus Aegilops L. is a very important genetic resource for the breeding of bread wheat Triticum aestivum. Therefore, an accurate and easy identification of Aegilops species is required. Traditionally, identification of Aegilops species has relied heavily on morphological characters. These characters, however, are either not variable enough among Aegilops species or too plastic to be used for identification at the species level. Molecular markers that are more stable within species, therefore, could be the alternative strategy towards an accurate identification. Since the chloroplast DNA has a lower level of evolution compared to the nuclear genome, an attempt was made in this study to investigate polymorphism in the chloroplast DNA among 21 Aegilops species (including Ae. mutica that is now known as Amblyopyrum muticum) and between the latter and T. aestivum to generate markers for the diagnosis of all targeted species. Cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence (CAPS) applied on 22 coding and non-coding chloroplast regions using 80 endonucleases and sequencing of two of those regions revealed little polymorphism between T. aestivum and the various Aegilops species examined and to a less extent was the variation among Aegilops species. Polymorphism observed among species analysed allowed the discrimination of T. aestivum and 12 Aegilops species.

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