G. Sonnante, A. Morgese, G. Sonnante , D. Pignone
The genus Cynara is of Mediterranean origin and includes eight species. Most of the wild Cynara spp. have an eastwards or westwards geographical distribution within the Mediterranean basin. Even the progenitor of artichoke, C. cardunculus var. sylvestris, which is reported to range from Cyprus to Spain, is actually present as two different types: the eastern and western ones. The analysis of ancient literature, historical, linguistic and artistic records, consistently with genetic and biosystematic data, indicate that the domestication of artichoke and cardoon diverged in time and space.
In this contribution we examine historical and artistic records, together with recent literature in genetics and biosystematics, and data obtained from DNA markers, for a better understanding on the domestication of artichoke and cardoon.
An analysis of Cynara species at microsatellite polymorphic loci, revealed that some allele combinations are able to identify artichoke varietal types, and others are unique to specific taxonomic groups. Wild cardoons from the Eastern Mediterranean are more closely related to artichoke and less to cultivated cardoon in comparison to wild cardoons from the Western Mediterranean. Besides, the genetic distance between the two wild cardoon genepools is quite high. Molecular analysis of microsatellite alleles revealed that the presence of point mutations and insertion/deletions is rather abundant, especially comparing C. cardunculus to the other Cynara species. Moreover, some SNPs are able to distinguish artichoke on one side, and cultivated and wild cardoon on the other, while other SNPs are related to the geographic distribution of Cynara wild species. The usefulness of this kind of markers in the study of evolution, domestication and diversity of artichoke is discussed.
Sonnante, G., Morgese, A., Sonnante , G. and Pignone, D. (2012). THE EVOLUTION OF CYNARA: DIVERSITY AND DOMESTICATION OF ARTICHOKE AND CARDOON. Acta Hortic. 942, 61-66
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.942.5
Cynara, diversity, domestication, DNA markers, geographical distribution

Acta Horticulturae