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. 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.

  • 2019. Magnus Westling (et al.). Journal of Food Science 84 (5), 1162-1169

    Landraces, that is, crop and livestock not improved by formal breeding, are scarce in the industrialized world and are mainly maintained ex situ for breeding purposes. The natural biodiversity of these landraces may contribute to securing food production that can adapt to a changing climate, crop pathogens, diseases, and other agricultural challenges. In addition, landraces might also possess unique quality traits. Our aim is to take the idea of crop and livestock diversity further by connecting flavor differences of different landraces and varieties, with gastronomic applications. Do landraces provide a creative possibility of using distinct sensory characteristics to create new dishes and food products and/or to optimize recipes by finding the right variety for existing dishes and food products? This study suggests that apple, pea, pear, and poultry landraces, apart from being valuable in terms of biodiversity in sustainable food systems, also possess unique and distinct gastronomic potential. For example, citrus odors in apples, nutty taste in gray peas, astringent taste in pears, and high odor intensity of stable in poultry is of culinary relevance when working with apple juice, plant-based alternatives to meat, poached pears, and roasted rooster, respectively. To fully explore, and take advantage of, the gastronomic potential landraces possess, additional studies are needed in order to find suitable cooking methods and development of recipes. Practical Application Seeking to increase market interest for landraces, highlighting gastronomic values could stimulate higher demand and, in turn, contribute to larger and more resilient populations preserved in situ. Specifically, the paper is of use to (I) crop and livestock producers and food companies who wish to provide products with greater sensory variation, (II) individuals, companies, and organizations with the aim to increase landrace demand and/or preservation, and (III) breeders and genetic engineers managing genetic traits of landraces and other varieties.

  • 2019. P. Larsson (et al.). Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 66 (5), 1059-1071

    Rye (Secale cereale L.) was for centuries the economically most important crop in Fennoscandia (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden). Historical records tell of a range of different types adapted to climate and varying cultivation practices. Genetic analyses of genebank maintained landrace rye have yet failed, with a few exceptions, to detect differentiation between rye types. Concerns have been raised that genebank material does not truly reflect the historical variation in landrace rye. In this study, we have therefore genotyped old and historical samples of rye as well as extant material. Two historical seventeenth century samples were obtained from a grave and a museum archive respectively, and 35 old samples were taken from 100 to 140-year-old seed collections and museum artefacts made of straw. We could confirm the results of previous studies suggesting Fennoscandian landrace rye to be one major meta-population, genetically different from other European rye landraces, but with no support for slash-and-burn types of rye being genetically different from other rye landraces. Only small differences in genetic diversity and allele distribution was found between old landrace rye from museum collections and extant genebank accessions, arguing against a substantial change in the genetic diversity during twentieth century cultivation and several regenerations during genebank maintenance. The genotypes of the old and historical samples suggest that the genetic structure of Fennoscandian landrace rye has been relatively stable for 350years. In contrast, we find that the younger samples and early improved cultivars belong to a different genetic group, more related to landraces from Central Europe.

  • 2019. Jenny Hagenblad (et al.). Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 66 (2), 465-480

    Barley has been continuously cultivated in the Canary archipelago for millennia, and to this day landrace barley is the preferred choice for cultivation. We have morphologically and genetically characterized 57 landraces collected during the twenty-first century and conserved in genebanks. The majority of accessions were of the six-row type. Although landraces from the same island tended to be similar, the results showed morphological and genetic diversity both within and in the case of genetic data among islands. Accessions from the easternmost islands were genetically distinct from those from the central and western islands. Accessions from the western islands often had a mixed genetical composition, suggesting more recent exchange of plant material with the central islands. The geographic distribution of diversity suggests that conservation of barley genetic resources needs to consider all islands in the archipelago. Landrace barley from the Canary archipelago was found to be morphologically distinct from continental landrace barley. We suggest the uniqueness of Canarian barley, in terms of morphology and genetic diversity, can be used for marketing purposes providing added market value to the crop.

  • 2019. Nils E. G. Forsberg, Matti W. Leino, Jenny Hagenblad. Heredity 123 (6), 733-745

    Agricultural disasters and the subsequent need for supply of relief seed can be expected to influence the genetic composition of crop plant populations. The consequences of disasters and seed relief have, however, rarely been studied since specimens sampled before the events are seldomly available. A series of crop failures struck northern Fennoscandia (Norway, Sweden and Finland) during the second half of the 19th century. In order to assess population genetic dynamics of landrace barley (Hordeum vulgare), and consequences of crop failure and possible seed relief during this time period, we genotyped seeds from 16 historical accessions originating from two time periods spanning the period of repeated crop failure. Reliable identification of genetic structuring is highly dependent on sampling regimes and detecting fine-scale geographic or temporal differentiation requires large sample sizes. The robustness of the results under different sampling regimes was evaluated by analyzing subsets of the data and an artificially pooled dataset. The results led to the conclusion that six individuals per accession were insufficient for reliable detection of the observed genetic structure. We found that population structure among the data was best explained by collection year of accessions, rather than geographic origin. The correlation with collection year indicated a change in genetic composition of landrace barley in the area after repeated crop failures, likely a consequence of introgression of relief seed in local populations. Identical genotypes were found to be shared among some accessions, suggesting founder effects and local seed exchange along known routes for trade and cultural exchange.

Show all publications by Matti Leino at Stockholm University

Last updated: January 30, 2020

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