Journal Article

Evolutionary Metabolomics Reveals Domestication-Associated Changes in Tetraploid Wheat Kernels

Romina Beleggia, Domenico Rau, Giovanni Laidò, Cristiano Platani, Franca Nigro, Mariagiovanna Fragasso, Pasquale De Vita, Federico Scossa, Alisdair R. Fernie, Zoran Nikoloski and Roberto Papa

in Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 33, issue 7, pages 1740-1753
Published in print July 2016 | ISSN: 0737-4038
Published online April 2016 | e-ISSN: 1537-1719 | DOI:

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Domestication and breeding have influenced the genetic structure of plant populations due to selection for adaptation from natural habitats to agro-ecosystems. Here, we investigate the effects of selection on the contents of 51 primary kernel metabolites and their relationships in three Triticum turgidum L. subspecies (i.e., wild emmer, emmer, durum wheat) that represent the major steps of tetraploid wheat domestication. We present a methodological pipeline to identify the signature of selection for molecular phenotypic traits (e.g., metabolites and transcripts). Following the approach, we show that a reduction in unsaturated fatty acids was associated with selection during domestication of emmer (primary domestication). We also show that changes in the amino acid content due to selection mark the domestication of durum wheat (secondary domestication). These effects were found to be partially independent of the associations that unsaturated fatty acids and amino acids have with other domestication-related kernel traits. Changes in contents of metabolites were also highlighted by alterations in the metabolic correlation networks, indicating wide metabolic restructuring due to domestication. Finally, evidence is provided that wild and exotic germplasm can have a relevant role for improvement of wheat quality and nutritional traits.

Keywords: population genomics; domestication; wheat; QST; metabolomics.

Journal Article.  10721 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology ; Molecular and Cell Biology

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