Genetic diversity of photosynthetic characters in native populations of Triticum dicoccoides

Brett F. Carver, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wild emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccoides Korn) has shown wide genetic diversity for disease resistance and morpho-physiological traits of economic importance. Our objectives were to test for genetic variation (VG) in photosynthetic characteristics residing within and between native populations sampled from three ecogeographical regions of Israel, and to identify potential sources of high photosynthetic efficiency for future wheat improvement. Accessions sampled in the center of wild emmer distribution (upper Jordan Valley) in a relatively narrow geographical range showed the greatest diversity in CO2-assimilation rate per unit leaf area (A) or per unit chlorophyll (A/Chl). Genetic variation was absent for internal CO2 concentration (Ci) and water-use efficiency (WUE) and generally lacking for stomatal conductance (gs). Leaf area, although quite variable, was not a significant cofactor in assessing genetic potential for photosynthesis. Accessions within a given population showed 10-times more variation in A and A/Chl than populations sampled from different locations in a region. Accessions with the highest photosynthetic efficiency were derived from upland steppic populations located in marginal habitats extending southward into Israel. Some accessions having high photosynthetic capacity (A=32 μmol m-2 s-1) with no significant reduction in leaf size constitute a potentially valuable genetic resource yet untapped for genetic improvement of hexaploid (T. aestivum L.) wheat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1990


  • adaptation
  • genetic variation
  • photosynthesis
  • wild emmer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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