Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization

Research Article

A DNA fingerprinting-based taxonomic allocation of Kamut wheat

Elena K. Khlestkinaa1a2, Marion S. Rödera1, Heinrich Grausgrubera3 and Andreas Börnera1 c1

a1 Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung, Corrensstr. 3, D-06466 Gatersleben, Germany

a2 Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Lavrentyeva ave. 10, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia

a3 BOKU—University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Institute of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Gregor Mendel Str. 33, A-1180 Vienna, Austria


Kamut wheat, said to have been derived from seed found in the Egyptian pyramids, appeared on the market about 25 years ago. We have investigated its taxonomic placement using microsatellite genotyping. In all, 89 accessions of 13 tetraploid wheat species, along with samples of Kamut wheat, were genotyped using two A and B genome wheat microsatellite markers per chromosome, generating 453 alleles (8–33 alleles per locus), and a mean allelic polymorphic information content (PIC) of 0.80. A diversity analysis showed that nine major accession groups could be defined, and these were inconsistent with formal taxonomic classifications of about 10% of the material. Most of these misclassifications are due to either species introgression or seed admixture. Some accessions appear to be duplicates. The Kamut wheats grouped together in a cluster containing three accessions of Triticum polonicum and three of T. durum, originating from Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Israel. We suggest that Kamut perhaps derived from a natural hybrid between T. durum and T. polonicum, which occurred in the Fertile Crescent.

(Received October 05 2005)

(Accepted March 01 2006)


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