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  • 1 Huazhong Agricultural University College of Plant Science and Technology Wuhan, Hubei 430070 China
  • 2 Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences Institute of Plant Protection Chengdu, Sichuan 610066 China
  • 3 University of Haifa International Graduate Center of Evolution, Institute of Evolution Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905 Israel
  • 4 Colorado State University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences Fort Collins CO 80523-1170 USA
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Triticum dicoccoides, wild emmer wheat, is the direct progenitor of cultivated wheats, has the same genome formula as durum wheat, and has contributed two genomes to bread wheat. It harbors many useful genes, more than can be used for wheat improvement. These genes are associated with many agronomic traits, abiotic stress tolerances, biotic stress resistances, grain protein content and micronutrient mineral concentrations. In this review, we summarized the achievements regarding gene discovery, i.e. gene identification, mapping and cloning in wild emmer wheat. These genes, controlling important agronomic traits, disease resistance, drought tolerance, high protein content and micronutrient mineral content, should be very useful for improvement of wheat production and food nutrition. However, the majority of genetic resources in wild emmer remain untapped, demonstrating the need for further exploration and utilization for wheat breeding programs. The large number of molecular markers, genomics tools and efficient cloning techniques available for wheat will greatly accelerate the application of wild emmer germplasm to wheat improvement and ensure sustainability of global wheat production.

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