Tibet is one of the centers of domestication of cultivated barley

Fei Dai, Eviatar Nevo, Dezhi Wu, Jordi Comadran, Meixue Zhou, Long Qiu, Zhonghua Chen, Avigdor Beiles, Guoxiong Chen, Guoping Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Near East Fertile Crescent is well recognized as a primary center of barley origin, diversity, and domestication. A large number of wild barleys have been collected from the Tibetan Plateau, which is characterized by an extreme environment. We used genome-wide diversity array technology markers to analyze the genotypic division between wild barley from the Near East and Tibet. Our results confirmed the existence of Tibetan wild barley and suggested that the split between the wild barleys in the Near East and those in Tibet occurred around 2.76 million years ago (Mya). To test the concept of polyphyletic domestication of barley, we characterized a set of worldwide cultivated barley. Some Chinese hulless and six-rowed barleys showed a close relationship with Tibetan wild barley but showed no common ancestor with other cultivated barley. Our data support the concept of polyphyletic domestication of cultivated barley and indicate that the Tibetan Plateau and its vicinity is one of the centers of domestication of cultivated barley. The current results may be highly significant in exploring the elite germplasm for barley breeding, especially against cold and drought stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16969-16973
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number42
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2012


  • Adaptation
  • Evolution
  • Harsh environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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