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      Species name: Chicory(Cichorium intybusL.)
    Cichorium intybus (chicory) is native to Eurasia and is a minor crop within the U.S. with approximately 2100 acres harvested, mostly in California ( The crop is however popular in Europe and worldwide production of chicory roots exceeded 1 million tons/year based (FAO data; France leads the global market with a harvest of approximately 140,000 tons annually. The species is also a widespread weed covering roadsides and disturbed habitats throughout the Northern hemisphere.

    Within C. intybus, the root chicory cultivars are classified as var. sativum, while the various cultivars cultivated for their leaves are all grouped into var. foliosum. Four cultivar groups are distinguished: 1) Root chicory. 2) Witloof, 3) Pain de Sucre, and 4) Radicchio. Although the radicchio group is associated with C. intybus, it originates from a cross between C. intybus and C. endivia. Thus, it is more appropriately linked to the genus instead of a single species (Kiers, 2000). C. intybus is diploid (2n=18; ). The genome size is unknown. C. intybus is self-incompatible and therefore outbreeding.

    Similar to C. endivia, the origin of cultivation of C. intybus lies most likely in the Mediterranean center as well as the Asian Center which has been suggested for C. intybus (Zeven and De Wet 1982; Vavilov, 1992). The oldest archaeological evidence of the use of C. intybus dates from the Bronze Age and has been found in the Alpenquai site (Zurich, Switzerland). The next evidence comes from Italy, where in Roman times, Plinius (23-79 AD) decribed chicory together with three kinds of lettuce (Desfontaines, 1829 in Nunez and De Castro 1996). Both Plinius and Dioscorides suggested the origin of domestication of chicory and endive has taken place in Egypt, but no archaeological evidence has been found (Nunez and De Castro, 1996; Vartavan and Amoros, 1997). The two different species migrated in the whole Mediterranean basin toward Southern and Eastern Asia before they diverged as horticultural crops. Even though the two species share common origins, C. intybus is predominantly found in southern Balkan peninsular and northern Middle East. One of the first records of planting chicory in the U.S. can be found in Thomas Jefferson’s correspondence and dates back to 1794. Microsatellite data analysis suggests that there have been multiple introductions of chicory into the U.S. – even local populations appear to have been founded by different sources from Eurasia (T. Zavada, unpublished).

    Several groups have developed AFLP and RAPD markers for chicory (Bellamy et al., 1996; Koch and Jung, 1997; Kiers et al., 2000; van Cutsem et al., 2003). Some of these markers have been used to construct a genetic map that was based on an intraspecific F2 population derived from a cross between two inbred lines of witloof chicory (van Stallen et al., 2003). Recently, Cadalen et al., (2010) constructed a consensus genetic map for chicory after the integration of molecular marker data of two industrial chicory populations and one witloof chicory progeny.
      Images of Cichorium intybus
      Figure 1: By Oswaldo Ochoa
      Figure 2: Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
      Figure 3: Cichorium intybus
      CGP Activities
    Generation of most of the Sanger ESTs described above to determine the distribution of whole genome duplications in the Compositae and to provide a resource for functional studies. Additonal EST sequencing with Illumina is underway to identify genetic changes associated with domestication.
    (bold denotes CGP authorship):

    Barker MS, NC Kane, A Kozik, RW Michelmore, M Matvienko, SJ Knapp, and LH Rieseberg. 2008. Multiple paleopolyploidizations during the evolution of the Asteraceae reveal parallel patterns of duplicate gene retention after millions of years. Molecular Biology and Evolution 25:2445-2455.

    Bellamy, A., F. Vedel, and H. Bannerot, (1996). Varietal identification in Cichorium intybus L. and determination of genetic purity of F1 hybrid seed samples, based on RAPD markers. Plant Breeding 115:128—132.

    Cadalen et al. (2010). Development of SSR markers and construction of a consensus genetic map for chicory (Cichorium intybus L.). Molecular Breeding, 25:699-722.

    Kiers, A. M. (2000). Endive, Chicory, and their wild relatives. Groteria, supplement 5.

    Kiers, M. at al. (2000). A search for diagnostic AFLP markers in Cichroium species with emphasis on endive and chicory cultivar groups. Genome 43:470-476.

    Koch, G., and C. Jung (1997b). Phylogenetic relationships of industrial chicory varieties revealed by RAPDs and AFLPs. Agronomie 17:323--333.

    Nunez, D. R. & C. O. De Castro (1996). Paleoethnobotany of Compositae in Europe, North Africa, and the Near East. In: P. D. S Caligari & D. J. N. Hind (eds), Compositae: biology and utilization, Proc. intern. Compositae conf., Kew, 1994, volume 2.

    Van Cutsem P, du Jardin P, Boutte C, Beauwens T (2003). Distinction between cultivated and wild chicory gene pools using AFLP markers. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 107:713-718.

    Van Stallen, N., B. Vandenbussche, V. Verdoodt, and M. P. De Proft, (2003). Construction of a genetic linkage map for witloof (Cichorium intybus L. var. foliosum Hegi). Plant Breeding 122:526--532.

    Vartavan, C. de & V. A. Amoros (1997). Codex of Ancient Egyptian Plant Remains. London.

    Vavilov, N. I. (1992). Origin and Geography of Cultivated Plants. Cambridge.

    Zeven, A. C. & J. M. J. de Wet (1982). Dictionary of cultivated plants and their regions of diversity. Wageningen.

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