The genus Allium contains about 500 species, several of which have been cultivated for millennia. Despite its long history of cultivation and its worldwide economic importance, little is known phylogenetically about Allium. Identification of the likely progenitor of A. cepa (the bulb onion) will focus future collection efforts on wild germplasm that may be useful in the genetic improvement of the bulb onion. Several classification schemes based on morphological characteristics have been proposed for A. cepa and its presumed closest relatives. None of these schemes has been definitive. Nuclear restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) were identified among Allium species in sections Cepa and Phyllodolon. These were used to unbiasedly estimate phylogenetic relationships.
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