Emmer wheat, Triticum dicoccon schrank (syn. T. dicoccum (schrank) schUbl.), is one of the earliest domesticated crops, harboring a wide range of genetic diversity and agronomically valuable traits. The crop, however, is currently largely neglected. We provide a wealth of karyotypic information from a comprehensive collection of emmer wheat and related taxa. In addition to C-banding polymorphisms, we identified 43 variants of chromosomal rearrangements in T. dicoccon; among them 26 (60.4%) were novel. The T7A:5B translocation was most abundant in Western Europe and the Mediterranean. The plant genetic resources investigated here might become important in the future for wheat improvement. Based on cluster analysis four major karyotypic groups were discriminated within the T. dicoccon genepool, each harboring characteristic C-banding patterns and translocation spectra: the balkan, asian, european and ethiopian groups. We postulate four major diffusion routes of the crop and discuss their migration out of the Fertile Crescent considering latest archaeobotanical findings.
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