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K. Kris Hirst

Wild Emmer Wheat

By November 28, 2012

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News that the genome for bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) had been sequenced made me take a closer look at its originating plant: wild emmer wheat (described in the literature in various ways including T dicoccoides or (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides).

Wild Emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides)
Wild emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides) Photo by Zvi Peleg.

There were two main types of wheat domesticated back some 12,000 years ago, called einkorn and emmer: but only emmer is the forebear of both of the major types of wheat today, bread wheat and durum wheat (used in pastas).

The cracking of the genome for breadwheat may soon enlighten us a tad more about how that happened: but in the meantime...

Brenchley R, Spannagl M, Pfeifer M, Barker GLA, D'Amore R, Allen AM, McKenzie N, Kramer M, Kerhomou A, Bolser D et al. 2012. Analysis of the breadwheat genome using whole-genome shotgun sequencing. Nature 491(703-709).


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