Alex Beharav Ph.D.

Senior Researcher, Teaching Fellow
Office: Multi-Purpose Building, Room 234/6 | Phone: 972-4-8240-119 | Fax: 972-4-8288-172
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Subject: Biodiversity, creation and evolution, plant germplasm, population genetics, species definition, wild lettuce
Contact | Photo album | Publications | CV

Research Interests

Leafy vegetables (LV) diversity

Focus: wild LV germplasm for research programs and crop improvement.

Research objectives during upcoming years (in collaboration with researchers from various countries):

  • To identify eco-geographic patterns in the species distribution.
  • To complete collection and validation the taxonomy of germplasm of seven wild Lactucaspp. and Chicorium pumilum collected from multiple locations throughout Israel.
  • To collect and validate the taxonomy of the germplasm of four wild Lactucaspp. collected from multiple locations throughout seven countries from their distribution regions: L. altaica (Soviet Central Asia, Southwest Sibiria, the lower Volga basin, Kazakhstan, and East and South Transcaucasia); L. georgica (Transcaucasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) and Northeast Anatolia); L. dregeana (South Africa); and L. scarioloides (East Turkey). These species are taxonomically close to the cultivated lettuce, but rarely or even absence collected, according the International Lactuca database (ILDB). Letters of collaboration have reached (from six out of seven countries mentioned above) spelling our details as to most suitable time and length of expedition; most suitable area(s) and herbariums to be visited; choice of local guide with some knowledge of local flora, including Lactuca spp.; responsibility for local arrangements; permission to enter the selected areas in order to observe and collect plant/seed material and to transfer the collected material to Israel; and of course safety matters (security, health) during the trips. All the above topics have already been discussed extensively between the two sides during recent years.
  • To study the compatibility between the wild Lactuca spp. as well as with L. sativa. Furthermore, the obtained potential viable offspring (interspecific hybrids) will be tested for hybrid sterility and/or fertility.
  • Tostudy genetic diversity between and within populations (includes to estimate the correlation between genetic and geographic distances within collection locality) of wild Lactucaspp. and C. pumilum using AFLP and microsatellites analysis.
  • To examine current species definition based on studied mentioned above.
  • To analyze the interaction pathosystems of wild Lactuca spp. with main diseases potentially threatening lettuce cultivation across the world on a wider scale among individuals from the different natural populations of the six wild species mentioned above.
  • To study sesquiterpene lactone profiles of wild LV spp.
  • To investigate vernalization treatments on bolting of wild Lactuca spp.
  • To test and use application of biostatistics and population genetic analyses in practice and theory.
  • To summarize thought/meditation/deliberation??? on the creation-evolution controversy (also termed the creation vs. evolution debate or the origins debate).

According to state-of-the-art knowledge , we assume that the unique germplasm that will be collected and study during upcoming years will enable us to make the next breakthrough in this research area by identifying, characterizing and molecularly mapping the qualitative and quantitative genes responsible for both agronomically important traits and resistance/susceptibility to lettuce's pathogens and pests in the host plants. Thus, we expect the further development to have high potential for the advancement of agriculture in Israel and the world.

Selected Publications

Beharav, A., Pinthus, M.J. and Cahaner, A. 1992. Interaction effects of the Rht1 and Rht2 dwarfing alleles and background genes on the growth and grain yield of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.).European J.Agronomy 1: 263-269.

Beharav, A., Cahaner, A. and Pinthus, M.J. 1994. Mixed model for estimating the effects of the Rht1 dwarfing allele, background genes, CCC and their interaction on culm and leaf elongation of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Heredity 72: 237-241. (Link)

Beharav, A., Cahaner, A. and Pinthus, M.J. 1998. Genetic correlations between culm length, grain yield and seedling elongation within tall (rht1) and semi-dwarf (Rht1) spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L). European J.Agronomy 9: 35-40.

Beharav, A., Pinthus, M.J. and Cahaner, A. 1998. Estimating heritability in families derived from single plants at an advanced generation of self-fertilizing species: developing general formulas and estimating spring wheat traits. Israel J. Plant Sci. 46: 209-212.

Lewinsohn, D., Nevo, E., Hadar, Y., Wasser, S.P. and Beharav, A. 2000. Ecogeographical variation in the Pleurotus eryngii complex in Israel. Mycological Res. 104: 1184-1190. (Link)

Lewinsohn, D., Nevo, E., Wasser, S.P., Hadar, Y. and Beharav, A. 2001. Genetic diversity in populations of the Pleurotus eryngii complex in Israel. Mycological Res. 105: 941-951. (Link

Beharav, A. and Nevo, E. 2003. Predictive validity of discriminant analysis for genetic data. Genetica 119: 259-267. (Link)

Beharav, A. and Nevo, E. 2004. Variation in agronomically important traits in natural populations of wild emmer wheat, Triticum dicoccoides, in Israel. Plant Genet. Resources: Characterization and Utilization 2: 81-84.

Beharav, A., Lewinsohn, D., Lebeda, A. and Nevo, E. 2006. New wild Lactuca genetic resources with resistance against Bremia lactucae. Genet. Resources and Crop Evol. 53: 467-474. (Link)

Sharaf, K., Lewinsohn, D., Nevo E. and Beharav, A. 2007. Virulence patterns of Bremia lactucae in Israel. Phytoparasitica. 35: 100-108. (Link)

Kitner, M., Lebeda, A., Dolezalova, I., Maras, M., Krístkova, E., Nevo, E., Pavlicek, T., Meglic, V. and Beharav, A. 2008. AFLP analysis of Lactuca saligna germplasm collections from four European and three Middle East countries. Isr. J. Plant Sci. 56: 185-193. (Link)

Beharav, A., Ben-David, R., Dolezalova, I. and Lebeda, A.. 2008. Eco-geographical distribution of Lactuca saligna natural populations in Israel. Isr. J. Plant Sci. 56: 195-206. (Link)

Yang, Z., Zhang, T, Bolshoy, A., Beharav, A. and Nevo, E. 2009. Adaptive macroclimatic structural and expressional dehydrin 1 evolution in wild barley, Hordeum spontaneum, at "Evolution Canyon", Mount Carmel, Israel. Mol. Ecol. 18: 2063-2075. (Link)

Beharav, A. Maras, M, Kitner, M., Sustar-Vozlic, J., Sun, G.L., Dolezalova, I., Lebeda, A. and Meglic, V. 2010. Comparison of three genetic similarity coefficients based on dominant markers from predominantly self-pollinating species. Biol. Plantarum 54: 54-60. (Link)

Beharav, A., Ben-David, R., Dolezalova, I. and Lebeda, A. 2010. Eco-geographical distribution of Lactuca aculeata natural populations in north-eastern Israel. Genet. Resources Crop Evol. 57: 679-686. (Link)

Beharav, A., Ben-David, R., Malarz, J., Stojakowska, A., Michalska, K., Doležalová, I., Lebeda, A. and Kisiel, W. 2010. Variation of sesquiterpene lactones in Lactuca aculeata natural populationsfrom Israel, Jordan and Turkey. Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 38: 602-611. (Link)

Petrželová, I., Lebeda, A. and Beharav, A. 2011. Resistance to Bremia lactucae in natural populations of Lactuca saligna from some Middle Eastern countries and France. Ann. Appl. Biol. 159: 442-455. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7348.2011.00507. (Link)

 Lebeda, A., Kitner, M., Křístková, E., Doležalová, I. and Beharav, A. 2012. Genetic polymorphism in Lactuca aculeata populations and occurrence of natural putative hybrids between L. aculeata and L. serriola. Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 42: 113-123. Link


 Last updated: July  2012

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