Diversity in wild relatives of wheat: an expedition collection from cold-arid Indian Himalayas
© 2018, Springer Nature B.V. Impact of climate change is of much concern across the globe in recent years and more specifically to the fragile ecosystems like cold-arid Himalayan region especially from a perspective on biodiversity and its conservation. Hence, collection and conservation of the biodiversity ex situ is a much better option to safeguard species at risk; especially for crop wild relatives with reference to agriculture. We have explored in 2014 and 2015 the cold-arid tracts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir states in India and collected 169 accessions of wheat wild relatives comprising 12 taxa, viz., Elymus L. (8/139 acc.), Hordeum L. (2/4) and Leymus Hochst. (2/26) belonging to the tribe Triticeae. New geographic occurrence of six species—Elymus himalayanus (Nevski) Tzvelev, E. repens (L.) Gould, E. schrenkianus (Fisch. et C.A.Mey) Tzvelev, Hordeum brevisubulatum (Trin.) Link subsp. turkestanicum (Nevski) Tzvelev, H. bogdanii Wilensky and Leymus duthiei (Stapf ex Hook.f.) C. Yen, J.L. Yang et B.R. Baum was reported. Broader variability at inter- and intra-specific level in Elymus nutans Griseb., E. dahuricus Turcz. and Leymus secalinus across the ecological amplitude was observed. E. dahuricus population was heterogeneous for waxiness and pigmentation characters. Collected germplasm would serve as a potential resource for introgression of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance genes towards developing resilient wheat cultivars.