Genomics of ancient crops and domesticacion

Group leader: Laura Botigué

Research project:

Unveiling the evolution of the free-threshing trait in wheat.

Selection for the free-threshing trait determined the transition from the first domestic wheats to the modern ones around 3,000 years ago. Several QTLs in chromosomes 2A and 2B have been previously identified. The goal of this project is to find the genetic basis of this phenotype and determine whether the genomic footprint of positive selection can still be detected. For this purpose, the regions of interest will be characterized in hulled (emmer) and free threshing (durum) wheat for large-scale structural rearrangements, differential transposable element activity and SNPs. SNP variation will be used to run different selection statistics. Differences at the genome level in the two wheat subspecies will be contrasted with differences in gene expression using transcriptomics from wheat during spikelet formation. This project combines experimental and bioinformatic analyses and is in collaboration with different research groups around Europe. 

Key publication

Scott, M.F., Botigué, L.R., Brace, S. et al. A 3,000-year-old Egyptian emmer wheat genome reveals dispersal and domestication history. Nat. Plants 5, 1120–1128 (2019).

Potential collaborations with other research groups

John Innes Centre (JIC)

Cristóbal Uauy Group

More information