MAtti Wiking Leino

Matti Leino


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Works at Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies
Telephone 08-16 25 18
Visiting address Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7
Room 221a
Postal address Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur 106 91 Stockholm


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Maria Lundström, Matti W. Leino, Jenny Hagenblad. BMC Genetics 18

    Background: The NAM-B1 gene in wheat has for almost three decades been extensively studied and utilized in breeding programs because of its significant impact on grain protein and mineral content and pleiotropic effects on senescence rate and grain size. First detected in wild emmer wheat, the wild-type allele of the gene has been introgressed into durum and bread wheat. Later studies have, however, also found the presence of the wild-type allele in some domesticated subspecies. In this study we trace the evolutionary history of the NAM-B1 in tetraploid wheat species and evaluate it as a putative domestication gene. Results: Genotyping of wild and landrace tetraploid accessions showed presence of only null alleles in durum. Domesticated emmer wheats contained both null alleles and the wild-type allele while wild emmers, with one exception, only carried the wild-type allele. One of the null alleles consists of a deletion that covers several 100 kb. The other null-allele, a one-basepair frame-shift insertion, likely arose among wild emmer. This allele was the target of a selective sweep, extending over several 100 kb. Conclusions: The NAM-B1 gene fulfils some criteria for being a domestication gene by encoding a trait of domestication relevance (seed size) and is here shown to have been under positive selection. The presence of both wild-type and null alleles in domesticated emmer does, however, suggest the gene to be a diversification gene in this species. Further studies of genotype-environment interactions are needed to find out under what conditions selection on different NAM-B1 alleles have been beneficial.

  • 2017. Jenny Hagenblad (et al.). Journal of Archaeological Science 78, 78-87

    The Canary Islands were settled in the first millennium AD by colonizers likely originating from North Africa. The settlers developed a farming economy with barley as the main crop. Archaeological evidence suggests the islands then remained isolated until European sea-travellers discovered and colonized them during the 14th and 15th centuries. Here we report a population study of ancient DNA from twenty-one archaeobotanical barley grains from Gran Canaria dating from 1050 to 1440 cal AD. The material showed exceptional DNA preservation and genotyping was carried out for 99 single nucleotide markers. In addition 101 extant landrace accessions from the Canary Islands and the western Mediterranean were genotyped. The archaeological material showed high genetic similarity to extant landraces from the Canary Islands. In contrast, accessions from the Canary Islands were highly differentiated from both Iberian and North African mainland barley. Within the Canary Islands, landraces from the easternmost islands were genetically differentiated from landraces from the western islands, corroborating the presence of pre-Hispanic barley cultivation on Lanzarote. The results demonstrate the potential of population genetic analyses of ancient DNA. They support the hypothesis of an original colonization, possibly from present day Morocco, and subsequent isolation of the islands and reveal a farmer fidelity to the local barley that has lasted for centuries.

  • 2018. Matti W. Leino (et al.). Economic Botany

    Multiplying onion (Allium cepa L. Aggregatum-Group), commonly known as shallot or potato onion, has a long tradition of cultivation in Fennoscandian home gardens. During the last decades, more than 80 accessions, maintained as vegetatively propagated clones, have been gathered from home gardens in all Fennoscandian countries. A genetic analysis showed regional patterns of accessions belonging to the same genetic group. However, accessions belonging to the same genetic group could originate in any of the countries. These results suggested both short- and long-distance exchange of set onions, which was confirmed by several survey responses. Some of the most common genetic groups also resembled different modern varieties. The morphological characterization illustrated that most characters were strongly influenced by environment and set onion properties. The only reliably scorable trait was bulb skin color. Neither our morphological nor genetic results support a division between potato onions and shallots. Instead, naming seems to follow linguistic traditions. An ethnobotanical survey tells of the Fennoscandian multiplying onions as being a crop with reliable harvest, excellent storage ability, and good taste. An increased cultivation of this material on both household and commercial scale should be possible.

  • 2018. Mia Lempiäinen-Avci (et al.). Environmental Archaeology

    In Northern Europe, barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) has been cultivated for almost 6000 years. Thus far, 150-year-old grains from historical collections have been used to investigate the distribution of barley diversity and how the species has spread across the region. Genetic studies of archaeobotanical material from agrarian sites could potentially clarify earlier migration patterns and cast further light on the origin of barley landraces. In this study, we aimed to evaluate different archaeological and historical materials with respect to DNA content, and to explore connections between Late Iron Age and medieval barley populations and historical samples of barley landraces in north-west Europe. The material analysed consisted of archaeological samples of charred barley grains from four sites in southern Finland, and historical material, with 33 samples obtained from two herbaria and the seed collections of the Swedish museum of cultural history.

    The DNA concentrations obtained from charred archaeological barley remains were too low for successful KASP genotyping confirming previously reported difficulties in obtaining aDNA from charred remains. Historical samples from herbaria and seed collection confirmed previously shown strong genetic differentiation between two-row and six-row barley. Six-row barley accessions from northern and southern Finland tended to cluster apart, while no geographical structuring was observed among two-row barley. Genotyping of functional markers revealed that the majority of barley cultivated in Finland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was late-flowering under increasing day-length, supporting previous findings from northern European barley.

  • 2018. Maria Lundström (et al.). Journal of Archaeological Science 22, 11-20

    Barley, Hordeum vulgare L., has been cultivated in Fennoscandia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland) since the start of the Neolithic around 4000 years BCE. Genetic studies of extant and 19th century barley landraces from the area have previously shown that distinct genetic groups exist with geographic structure according to latitude, suggesting strong local adaptation of cultivated crops. It is, however, not known what time depth these patterns reflect. Here we evaluate different archaeobotanical specimens of barley, extending several centuries in time, for their potential to answer this question by analysis of aDNA. Forty-six charred grains, nineteen waterlogged specimens and nine desiccated grains were evaluated by PCR and KASP genotyping. The charred samples did not contain any detectable endogenous DNA. Some waterlogged samples permitted amplification of endogenous DNA, however not sufficient for subsequent analysis. Desiccated plant materials provided the highest genotyping success rates of the materials analysed here in agreement with previous studies. Five desiccated grains from a grave from 1679 in southern Sweden were genotyped with 100 SNP markers and data compared to genotypes of 19th century landraces from Fennoscandia. The results showed that the genetic composition of barley grown in southern Sweden changed very little from late 17th to late 19th century and farmers stayed true to locally adapted crops in spite of societal and agricultural development.

Show all publications by Matti Leino at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 30, 2018

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