Triticum spelta: Origin, biological characteristics and perspectives for use in breeding and agriculture

Keywords: hulled wheat; free-threshing wheat; phylogeny; wheat genome; economically essential features; selection process


In today’s wheat production, the trends focused on the revival, selection and implementation of forgotten regional grain crops, the so-called "antique" cereals, have been clearly identified. One of these is the ancient hexaploid species of wheat – spelt (Triticum spelta). One of the main reasons that have contributed to the revival of this type of wheat in recent years is its tolerance to growing conditions and capacity to endure the natural and climatic factors of the environment, which allows it to be grown without an excessive use of plant protection products. It is precisely because of this feature that hulled wheat is referred to as "environmentally friendly”. Spelt is capable of yielding stable crops without strict adherence to the production technology and may be a great alternative to soft wheat. The growth in demand for this crop is also due to a complex of economic and valuable traits inherited from its wild ancestors. This review analyzes and summarizes the information about the origin of spelt, presents biological characteristics, discusses the perspectives for using the species in breeding work when implementing interspecific hybridization and compares the structure and genome evolution. The achievements on the revival of spelt as an independent species and its use as a source of economic and valuable traits in breeding programs of crosses with soft wheat are highlighted, examples of successful use of the economic and valuable traits of spelt for the improvement and creation of new high-quality wheat varieties are presented. Data on this superiority of grain from this species over that of genetically close wheat species are presented. The varietals’ characteristics for spelt varieties of Ukrainian selection are given. Such important spelt characteristics as resistance to biotic and abiotic stressors, high quality grain composition and yield have been analyzed.


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How to Cite
Babenko, L. M., Hospodarenko, H. M., Rozhkov, R. V., Pariy, Y. F., Pariy, M. F., Babenko, A. V., & Kosakivska, I. V. (2018). Triticum spelta: Origin, biological characteristics and perspectives for use in breeding and agriculture. Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems, 9(2), 250-257.

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