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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2010 Feb;54(2):488-97. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.030. Epub 2009 Sep 3.

Origins of Allium ampeloprasum horticultural groups and a molecular phylogeny of the section Allium (Allium: Alliaceae).

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Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Agronomy Department, Jamnikarjeva 101, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.


The subgenus Allium section Allium includes economically important species, such as garlic and leek, as well as other polyploid minor crops. Phylogenetic studies within this section, with a focus on horticultural groups within A. ampeloprasum, were performed on 31 accessions of 17 species using the nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and the chloroplast trnL-F and trnD-T regions. The results confirmed the monophyly of section Allium. Four main clades were identified on all ITS analyses but the relationships among those and the remaining species studied within section Allium remained unresolved. Trees based on cpDNA recovered two major clades and a topology only partly congruent with that of the ITS tree. Intra-individual polymorphism of the ITS region proved useful in tracking putative parent species of polyploid taxa. The allopolyploid origin of great headed garlic (GHG), A. iranicum and A. polyanthum was confirmed. No signs of hybridization in leek or kurrat were detected but possible introgression events were identified in pearl onion and bulbous leek. Although GHG is often used as a garlic substitute, molecular analysis revealed only a distant relationship with garlic. We also clarified the previous incorrect classification of cultivated forms within A. ampeloprasum, by showing that leek, kurrat, pearl onion, and bulbous leek should be considered separately from GHG.

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