Variability in phenotypic traits in core and peripheral populations of wild barley Hordeum spontaneum Koch

Sergei Volis, Samuel Mendlinger, Nikolai Orlovsky

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20 Scopus citations


Populations of wild barley, H. spontaneum Koch., were collected in two countries, Israel and Turkmenistan, in environments representing two similar sharp clines of aridity. This allowed us to use the same criteria to define species core and periphery in two regions. Plants from 10 Israeli and 19 Turkmenian populations were grown in a field trial with three water treatments and compared for amount and structure of variation in phenological and morphological traits. Extent of variation was similar in populations at species border (periphery by aridity criterion) or at species border and near it (by habitat), and in populations inhabiting favorable environments away from the border (core). In contrast, two regions (Israel and Turkmenistan) exhibited different amount of variation in phenotypic traits. Israeli populations were more diverse than Turkmenian populations in all except one phenotypic traits and the variation was differently structured among regionally specific core and periphery. While Turkmenian core and periphery defined by either criterion did not differ for all except one trait, corresponding Israeli populations exhibited opposite patterns of variation for trait complexes. Israeli core (Mediterranean) populations were twice as variable than peripheral (desert) populations in parameters of reproductive growth (stem, spike and awn length) and grain filling (spikelet weight) and half as variable in the length of flag and penultimate leaves and onset of reproduction. Possible modes of regionally specific natural selection as a cause of regional/local variation in phenotypic traits are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-247
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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