Current progress in understanding and recovering the wheat genes lost in evolution and domestication

Shanjida Rahman, Shahidul Islam, Zitong Yu, Maoyun She, Eviatar Nevo, Wujun Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The modern cultivated wheat has passed a long evolution involving origin of wild emmer (WEM), development of cultivated emmer, formation of spelt wheat and finally establishment of modern bread wheat and durum wheat. During this evolutionary process, rapid alterations and sporadic changes in wheat genome took place, due to hybridization, polyploidization, domestication, and mutation. This has resulted in some modifications and a high level of gene loss. As a result, the modern cultivated wheat does not contain all genes of their progenitors. These lost genes are novel for modern wheat improvement. Exploring wild progenitor for genetic variation of important traits is directly beneficial for wheat breeding. WEM wheat (Triticum dicoccoides) is a great genetic resource with huge diversity for traits. Few genes and quantitative trait loci (QTL) for agronomic, quantitative, biotic and abiotic stress-related traits have already been mapped from WEM. This resource can be utilized for modern wheat improvement by integrating identified genes or QTLs through breeding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5836
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - 14 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This.


  • Evolution and domestication
  • Gene modification
  • Novel genes
  • Trait enhancement
  • Wild emmer wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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