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PLoS One. 2013 May 3;8(5):e62700. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062700. Print 2013.

Tibet as a potential domestication center of cultivated barley of China.

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  • 1College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China.


The importance of wild barley from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the origin and domestication of cultivated barley has long been underestimated. Population-based phylogenetic analyses were performed to study the origin and genetic diversity of Chinese domesticated barley, and address the possibility that the Tibetan region in China was an independent center of barley domestication. Wild barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum) populations from Southwest Asia, Central Asia, and Tibet along with domesticated barley from China were analyzed using two nuclear genes. Our results showed that Tibetan wild barley distinctly diverged from Southwest Asian (Near East) wild barley, that Central Asian wild barley is related to Southwest Asian wild barley, and that Chinese domesticated barley shares the same haplotypes with Tibetan wild barley. Phylogenetic analysis showed a close relationship between Chinese domesticated barley and the Tibetan wild barley, suggesting that Tibetan wild barley was the ancestor of Chinese domesticated barley. Our results favor the polyphyletic origin for cultivated barley.

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