The Evolution of Wheat - Wild Emmer

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Wild Emmer (Triticum dicoccoides) is a hybrid created when a Goat Grass was pollinated by pollen from Wild Einkorn at least 30,000 years ago. The two parents, Wild Einkorn and the Goat Grass are both diploids, each with 14 chromosomes in their cells. After natural pollination and amphiploidy (chromosome doubling), a tetraploid wheat with cells containing 28 chromosomes, genome 'AABB' was produced. Hybridisation probably occurred many times over several millennia in areas of the Fertile Crescent where the two parent plants grew together.

Wild Emmer has grains that are larger than those of Wild Einkorn but they are still enclosed in ears with the characteristic hard shell or 'hull'. Although the ears fragment into single spikelets when ripe, this did not prevent their collection as a food source.