Allium tuncelianum (Kollman) Ozhatay, Matthew & Siraneci is a native species to the Eastern Anatolia. Its plant architecture resembles garlic (Allium sativum L.) and it has mild garlic odor and flavor. Because of these similarities between two species, A. tuncelianum has been locally called "garlic". In addition, both A. tuncelianum and garlic has 16 chromosomes in their diploid genomes. Recently, A. tuncelianum has been suggested as the wild progenitor species of garlic. In this study, amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) markers and nucleotide sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) were used to assess genetic and phylogenetic relationships among A. tuncelianum, garlic and some other Allium species. AFLP analysis demonstrated that A. tuncelianum and garlic are genetically distinct and they are likely different species. Phylogenetic analyses based on the nucleotide sequence of ITS suggested that A. tuncelianum and garlic are distinct species and placed A. tuncelianum, garlic, Allium ampeloprasum and Allium scorodoprasum into the same clade in the neighbor joining dendrogram and in the consensus tree of parsimony analysis. However, A. tuncelianum was phylogenetically less related to garlic than either A. ampeloprasum or A. scorodoprasum, suggesting that A. tuncelianum may not be the immediate wild ancestor species of garlic. Further studies to generate hybrid progeny between A. tuncelianum and garlic (if possible) could provide more information on the homology between the chromosomes of A. tuncelianum and garlic and genetic relationships between these two species. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.