Genome sequences of three Aegilops species of the section Sitopsis reveal phylogenetic relationships and provide resources for wheat improvement

Raz Avni, Thomas Lux, Anna Minz-Dub, Eitan Millet, Hanan Sela, Assaf Distelfeld, Jasline Deek, Guotai Yu, Burkhard Steuernagel, Curtis Pozniak, Jennifer Ens, Heidrun Gundlach, Klaus F. X. Mayer, Axel Himmelbach, Nils Stein, Martin Mascher, Manuel Spannagl, Brande B. H. Wulff, Amir Sharon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Aegilops is a close relative of wheat (Triticum spp.), and Aegilops species in the section Sitopsis represent a rich reservoir of genetic diversity for improvement of wheat. To understand their diversity and advance their utilization, we produced whole-genome assemblies of Ae. longissima and Ae. speltoides. Whole-genome comparative analysis, along with the recently sequenced Ae. sharonensis genome, showed that the Ae. longissima and Ae. sharonensis genomes are highly similar and most closely related to the wheat D subgenome. By contrast, the Ae. speltoides genome is more closely related to the B subgenome. Haplotype block analysis supported the idea that Ae. speltoides is the closest to the wheat B subgenome and highlighted variable and similar genomic regions between the three Aegilops species and wheat. Genome-wide analysis of nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) genes revealed species-specific and lineage-specific NLR genes and variants, demonstrating the potential of Aegilops genomes for wheat improvement.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe Plant Journal
StatePublished - Jan 8 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-01-18
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the Harold and Adele Lieberman Germplasm Bank, Tel Aviv University, for making Ae. longissima, Ae. sharonensis, and WEW seeds available, and to the Lieberman Family and JNF Australia for the generous support of this project. We kindly acknowledge Manuela Knauft and Ines Walde for technical assistance on Hi-C library preparation and sequencing. We thank Prof. Moshe Feldman for helpful discussions on the section Sitopsis. We thank Anne Fiebig for sequence data submission. Funding: This work was also supported by Genome Canada, Genome Prairie, and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (CJP, JE); the Israel Science Foundation (ISF grant 1137/17; AD); the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Designing Future Wheat Cross-Institute Strategic Programme to BBHW (BBS/E/J/000PR9780).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics


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