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Phylogeny, phylogeography and genetic diversity of the Pisum genus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2010

Petr Smýkal*
Agritec Plant Research Limited, Department of Biotechnology, Zemedelská 2520/16, CZ-787 01Šumperk, Czech Republic
Gregory Kenicer
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, EdinburghEH3 5LR, UK
Andrew J. Flavell
Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee at SCRI, Invergowrie, DundeeDD2 5DA, UK
Jukka Corander
Department of Mathematics, Abo Akademi University, Biskopsgatan 8, FIN-20500Åbo, Finland
Oleg Kosterin
Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Department of Russian Academy of Sciences, 630090Novosibirsk, Russia
Robert J. Redden
Australian Temperate Field Crops Collection, HorshamVIC 3401, Australia
Rebecca Ford
Melbourne School of Land and Environment, The University of Melbourne, Victoria3010, Australia
Clarice J. Coyne
USDA – Agricultural Research Service, WSU, PullmanWA99164, USA
Nigel Maxted
School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, BirminghamB15 2TT, UK
Mike J. Ambrose
John Innes Centre, Colney, NorwichNR4 7UH, UK
Noel T. H. Ellis
John Innes Centre, Colney, NorwichNR4 7UH, UK
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


The tribe Fabeae (formerly Vicieae) contains some of humanity's most important grain legume crops, namely Lathyrus (grass pea/sweet pea/chickling vetches; about 160 species); Lens (lentils; 4 species); Pisum (peas; 3 species); Vicia (vetches; about 140 species); and the monotypic genus Vavilovia. Reconstructing the phylogenetic relationships within this group is essential for understanding the origin and diversification of these crops. Our study, based on molecular data, has positioned Pisum genetically between Vicia and Lathyrus and shows it to be closely allied to Vavilovia. A study of phylogeography, using a combination of plastid and nuclear markers, suggested that wild pea spread from its centre of origin, the Middle East, eastwards to the Caucasus, Iran and Afghanistan, and westwards to the Mediterranean. To allow for direct data comparison, we utilized model-based Bayesian Analysis of Population structure (BAPS) software on 4429 Pisum accessions from three large world germplasm collections that include both wild and domesticated pea analyzed by retrotransposon-based markers. An analysis of genetic diversity identified separate clusters containing wild material, distinguishing Pisum fulvum, P. elatius and P. abyssinicum, supporting the view of separate species or subspecies. Moreover, accessions of domesticated peas of Afghan, Ethiopian and Chinese origin were distinguished. In addition to revealing the genetic relationships, these results also provided insight into geographical and phylogenetic partitioning of genetic diversity. This study provides the framework for defining global Pisum germplasm diversity as well as suggesting a model for the domestication of the cultivated species. These findings, together with gene-based sequence analysis, show that although introgression from wild species has been common throughout pea domestication, much of the diversity still resides in wild material and could be used further in breeding. Moreover, although existing collections contain over 10,000 pea accessions, effort should be directed towards collecting more wild material in order to preserve the genetic diversity of the species.

Research Article
Copyright © NIAB 2010

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