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Convergence within divergence: insights of wheat adaptation from Triticum population sequencing

By Yao Zhou, Xuebo Zhao, Yiwen Li, Jun Xu, Aoyue Bi, Lipeng Kang, Haofeng Chen, Ying Wang, Yuan-ge Wang, Sanyang Liu, Chengzhi Jiao, Hongfeng Lu, Jing Wang, Changbin Yin, Yuling Jiao, Fei Lu

Posted 23 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.21.001362

Bread wheat expanded its habitats from a small core area of the Fertile Crescent to global environments within ~10,000 years. Genetic mechanisms of this remarkable evolutionary success are not well understood. By whole-genome sequencing of populations from 25 subspecies within genera Triticum and Aegilops, we identified composite introgression from these wild populations contributing 13%~36% of the bread wheat genome, which tremendously increased the genetic diversity of bread wheat and allowed its divergent adaptation. Meanwhile, convergent adaption to human selection showed 2- to 16-fold enrichment relative to random expectation in Triticum species despite their drastic differences in ploidy levels and growing zones, indicating the vital importance of adaptive constraints in the success of bread wheat. These results showed the genetic necessities of wheat as a global crop and provided new perspectives on leveraging adaptation success across species for crop improvement.

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