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Mol Biol Evol. 2000 Jun;17(6):851-62.

Microsatellite diversity correlated with ecological-edaphic and genetic factors in three microsites of wild emmer wheat in North Israel.

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  • 1Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.


This study was conducted to test the effects of internal (genetic) and external factors on allelic diversity at 27 dinucleotide microsatellite (simple sequence repeat [SSR]) loci in three Israeli natural populations of Triticum dicoccoides from Ammiad, Tabigha, and Yehudiyya, north of the Sea of Galilee. The results demonstrated that SSR diversity is correlated with the interaction of ecological and genetic factors. Genetic factors, including genome (A vs. B), chromosome, motif, and locus, affected average repeat number (ARN), variance in repeat number (sigma), and number of alleles (NA) of SSRs, but the significance of some factors varied among populations. Genome effect on SSR variation may result from different motif types, particularly compound (or imperfect) versus perfect motifs, which may be related to different evolutionary histories of genomes A and B. Ecological factors significantly affected SSR variation. Soil-unique and soil-specific alleles were found in two edaphic groups dwelling on terra rossa and basalt soils across macro- and microgeographical scales. The largest contributions of genetic and ecological effects were found for diversity of ARN and NA, respectively. Multiple regression indicated that replication slippage and unequal crossing over could be important mutational mechanisms, but their significance varied among motifs. Edaphic stresses may affect the probability of replication errors and recombination intermediates and thus control diversity level and divergence of SSRs. The results may indicate that SSR diversity is adaptive, channeled by natural selection and influenced by both internal and external factors and their interactions.

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