Natural selection causes adaptive genetic resistance in wild emmer wheat against powdery mildew at "Evolution Canyon" Microsite, Mt. Carmel, Israel

Huayan Yin, Yuval Ben-Abu, Hongwei Wang, Anfei Li, Eviatar Nevo, Lingrang Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: "Evolution Canyon" (ECI) at Lower Nahal Oren, Mount Carmel, Israel, is an optimal natural microscale model for unraveling evolution in action highlighting the basic evolutionary processes of adaptation and speciation. A major model organism in ECI is wild emmer, Triticum dicoccoides, the progenitor of cultivated wheat, which displays dramatic interslope adaptive and speciational divergence on the tropical-xeric "African" slope (AS) and the temperate-mesic "European" slope (ES), separated on average by 250 m. Methods: We examined 278 single sequence repeats (SSRs) and the phenotype diversity of the resistance to powdery mildew between the opposite slopes. Furthermore, 18 phenotypes on the AS and 20 phenotypes on the ES, were inoculated by both Bgt E09 and a mixture of powdery mildew races. Results: In the experiment of genetic diversity, very little polymorphism was identified intra-slope in the accessions from both the AS or ES. By contrast, 148 pairs of SSR primers (53.23%) amplified polymorphic products between the phenotypes of AS and ES. There are some differences between the two wild emmer wheat genomes and the inter-slope SSR polymorphic products between genome A and B. Interestingly, all wild emmer types growing on the south-facing slope (SFS=AS) were susceptible to a composite of Blumeria graminis, while the ones growing on the north-facing slope (NFS=ES) were highly resistant to Blumeria graminis at both seedling and adult stages. Conclusion/Significance: Remarkable inter-slope evolutionary divergent processes occur in wild emmer wheat, T. dicoccoidesat EC I, despite the shot average distance of 250 meters. The AS, a dry and hot slope, did not develop resistance to powdery mildew, whereas the ES, a cool and humid slope, did develop resistance since the disease stress was strong there. This is a remarkable demonstration in host-pathogen interaction on how resistance develops when stress causes an adaptive result at a micro-scale distance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0122344
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - 9 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Yin et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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