Submitted to: Scientia Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 6, 2007
Publication Date: February 21, 2008
Citation: Ipek, M., Ipek, A., Simon, P.W. 2008. Genetic Characterization of Allium Tuncelianum: An Endemic Edible Allium Species With Garlic Odor. Scientia Horticultureae. 115(4):409-415.
Interpretive Summary: A wild relative of garlic, Allium tuncelianum, grows in eastern Turkey, and is used locally like garlic. Botanists had suggested this species may be a close relative of garlic, and perhaps an ancestor of garlic. In this study, molecular genetic markers were used to compare Allium tuncelianum with garlic and related species. Results indicated Allium tuncelianum is not a particularly close relative of garlic, being more closely related to, but different from, leek. This study is of interest to botanists and to garlic growers interested in diversifying crop systems.
A. tuncelianum is a native species to the Eastern Anatolia. Its plant architecture resembles garlic (A. sativum) and it has mild garlic odor and flavor. Because of these similarities, it has been locally called “garlic”. In addition, it has 16 chromosomes number in its diploid genome like garlic. Recently, it was suggested that A. tuncelianum might be the wild progenitor species of garlic. In this study, AFLP markers and DNA sequence analysis of ITS were used to assess genetic and phylogenetic relationship among A. tuncelianum, garlic and some other Allium species. AFLP analysis demonstrated that A. tuncelianum and garlic are genetically distinct and they are likely different species. DNA sequence analysis of ITS placed A. tuncelianum into same clade with garlic, A. ampeloprasum and A. scorodoprasum but separated from them. These results did not suggest that A. tuncelianum is the wild ancestor species of garlic since it is phylogenetically less related to garlic than either A. ampeloprasum or A. scorodoprasum. Generation of hybrid progeny between A. tuncelianum and garlic could provide more information on the homology the A. tuncelianum and garlic chromosomes and genetic relationship between these two species.