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V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences


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Aim. To present the wheat endemics of China as source material for breeding and historical heritage.

Results and Discussion. Wheat in China is the second most widely distributed cereal crop after rice. It is cultivated in China from the extreme northern border to the southern one, at altitudes from 154 m below sea level to 4450 m above sea level. The Chinian wheat is originated from South-West and West Asia and has a history of more than 2.8 thousand years. Since ancient times, the wheat species have been grown in China: bread (Triticum aestivum L.), compactum (T. compactum Host), polonicum (T. polonicum L.), turgidum (T. turgidum L.), durum (T. durum Desf.), turanian (T. turanicum Jakubz.). The Chinese ancient bread wheats are of interest for breeders because presence among them of early ripening, multi-flowering with the grain number in a spikelet up to 7-8 and in the ear up to 90-100, drought and winter hardy, resistant to powdery mildew and leaf rust; forms with good crossability with rye and Aegilops species. Among the endemic Chinese wheat, an important place belongs to the Chinese Spring variety which played an outstanding role in wheat genetics; super dwarfs Tom Pouce and Tibetan Dwarf; three-grain wheat, in which 3 grains are formed in one flower; Charklyk ancient wheat – a boneless form of polonicum wheat; dwarf blue wheat turgidum – with a strong waxy coating; Taigu-Male-Sterile Wheat – with gene male sterility; a wheats having species and subspecies status: wheat of Petropavlovskyi – Triticum petropavlovskyi Udacz. et Migusch.; Tibetan wheat – T. spelta L. ssp. tibetanum (Shao) N.P. Gontsch comb. nov .; Yunnan wheat – T. spelta L. ssp. yunnanse (King ex S.L. Chen) N.P. Gontsch comb. nov. The origin and genetic characteristics of China's endemic wheats are discussed.

Conclusions. China's wheat endemics need careful study and conservation as a reserve of valuable genes and their complexes for breeding, and as an embodiment of the history, culture, talent and work of the people who created them, and an integral part of human cultural heritage.


China, wheat, endemic, breeding, trait, genes, history