Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

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Specimen Records:275
Specimens with Sequences:277
Specimens with Barcodes:266
Species With Barcodes:23
Public Records:271
Public Species:23
Public BINs:0
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Aegilops is a genus of Eurasian and North American plants in the grass family, Poaceae.[4][5][6] They are known generally as goatgrasses.[7] Some species are known as invasive weeds in pats of North America.[8][9][10]


These are annual plants, sometimes from rhizomes. The taller species reach about 80 centimeters in maximum height. The flat leaves are linear to narrowly lance-shaped, and are up to 15 centimeters long and one wide. The inflorescence is a spike with 2 to 12 solitary spikelets each up to 1.2 centimeters long. Some spikelets have one or three awns, and some have none.[8][11][12][13]


Genus Aegilops has played an important role in the taxonomy of wheat. The familiar common wheat (Triticum aestivum) arose when cultivated emmer wheat hybridized with Aegilops tauschii about 8,000 years ago.[14][15] Aegilops and Triticum are genetically similar, as evidenced by their ability to hybridize, and by the presence of Aegilops in the evolutionary heritage of many Triticum taxa.[12] Aegilops is sometimes treated within Triticum. They are maintained as separate genera by most authorities because of their ecological characteristics,[12] and because when united they do not form a monophyletic group.[15][16]


Some Aegilops are known as weeds. A. cylindrica, which is commonly known as jointed goatgrass, infests wheat fields, where it outcompetes wheat plants, reducing yields. Its seeds mix with wheat grains at harvest, lowering the quality of the crop. It can also harbor pests such as the Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia) and pathogenic fungi. Other Aegilops are weeds of rangeland and wildland habitat.[17]

Prehistoric use as a wild food source[edit]

During the Mesolithic era, nomadic peoples found goatgrasses (Aegilops) growing wild, along with wild wheats and barleys, and harvested them using bone sickles inset with sharp flakes of flint. The harvested plants were left to dry for a few days, then the edible grains were separated out from the rest of the plant material by beating the plants with a wooden flail, or by rolling them against a hard surface. The seeds were then carefully singed in the embers of a fire to burn away the remaining non-edible plant material. Some grains were accidentally burnt, and since the burnt grains do not biodegrade some have been found by modern archeologists. [18]


The genus name Aegilops comes from the Greek aegilos, which could mean "a goat", "goatlike", "a herb liked by goats", or perhaps "a grass similar to that liked by goats".[8]


Accepted Species[7][19][8][11][12]
  1. Aegilops bicornis - Egypt, Libya, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Sinai, Jordan, Israel Kuwait
  2. Aegilops caudata - Balkans, Middle East
  3. Aegilops columnaris - Middle East
  4. Aegilops comosa - Greece, Turkey
  5. Aegilops crassa – Persian goatgrass - Middle East to Central Asia
  6. Aegilops cylindrica – jointed goatgrass - from Czech Republic to Pakistan
  7. Aegilops geniculata - from Portugal + Canary Islands to Iran
  8. Aegilops × insulae-cypri - Cyprus
  9. Aegilops juvenalis - from Turkey to Kazakhstan
  10. Aegilops kotschyi – ovate goatgrass - from Tunisia to Uzbekistan
  11. Aegilops longissima - Middle East, Egypt
  12. Aegilops lorentii - from Spain + Cape Verde to Iran
  13. Aegilops mutica - Turkey, Transcaucasus
  14. Aegilops neglecta – three-awned goatgrass - from Portugal + Canary Islands to Kazakhstan
  15. Aegilops peregrina - from Morocco to Iran
  16. Aegilops searsii - Syria, Jordan
  17. Aegilops sharonensis - Israel
  18. Aegilops speltoides - from Greece to Iran
  19. Aegilops tauschii - from Crimea to Henan
  20. Aegilops triuncialis – barbed goatgrass - from Portugal + Morocco to Kazakhstan
  21. Aegilops umbellulata - from Crimea to Iran
  22. Aegilops uniaristata - Italy, Balkans, Turkey, Caucasus
  23. Aegilops vavilovii - from Caucasus to Saudi Arabia
  24. Aegilops ventricosa - from Morocco + Balearic Islands to Caucasus

Formerly included species

Species once regarded as members of Aegilops but now considered better suited to other genera: Ctenium Dactyloctenium Elymus Eremochloa Ophiuros Parapholis Rottboellia Triticum

See also[edit]


  1. ^ lectotype designated by Hammer, Feddes Repert. 91: 225-228 (1980)
  2. ^ a b Tropicos, Aegilops L.
  3. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 1050-1051 in Latin
  5. ^
  6. ^ Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 444 山羊草属 shan yang cao shu Aegilops Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1050. 1753.
  7. ^ a b Aegilops. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
  8. ^ a b c d Watson, L. and M. J. Dallwitz. 1992 onwards. Aegilops. The Grass Genera of the World. Version: 18 December 2012.
  9. ^ Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution maps
  10. ^ Aegilops classification systems. Wheat Genetic and Genomics Resource Center. Kansas State University.
  11. ^ a b Aegilops. The Jepson eFlora 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d Aegilops. Triticeae Genus Fact Sheets. Intermountain Herbarium. Utah State University.
  13. ^ Aegilops. GrassBase. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Version 16 November 2012.
  14. ^ Jia, J., et al. (2013). Aegilops tauschii draft genome sequence reveals a gene repertoire for wheat adaptation. Nature 496, 91–95.
  15. ^ a b Petersen, G., et al. (2006). Phylogenetic relationships of Triticum and Aegilops and evidence for the origin of the A, B, and D genomes of common wheat (Triticum aestivum). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39(1), 70-82.
  16. ^ Yamane, K. and T. Kawahara. (2005). Intra- and interspecific phylogenetic relationships among diploid Triticum-Aegilops species (Poaceae) based on base-pair substitutions, indels, and microsatellites in chloroplast noncoding sequences. American Journal of Botany 92(11), 1887-98.
  17. ^ Aegilops. Encycloweedia Data Sheets. California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
  18. ^ Thomson, Peter (2010). Seeds, sex, and civilization: How the hidden life of plants has shaped our world. Thames and Hudson. 12,13.
  19. ^ Aegilops. The Plant List.
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