The origin and genomic constitution of the tetraploid perennial species Dasypyrum hordeaceum (2n = 4x = 28) and its phylogenetic relationships with the annual diploid Dasypyrum villosum (2n = 2x = 14) have been investigated by comparing the two genomes using different methods. There is no apparent homology between the conventional or Giemsa C-banded karyotypes of the two Dasypyrum species, nor can the karyotype of D. hordeaceum be split up into two similar sets. Polymorphism within several chromosome pairs was observed in both karyotypes. Cytophotometric determinations of the Feulgen-DNA absorptions showed that the genome size of D. hordeaceum was twice as large as that of D. villosum. Both the cross D. villosum x D. hordeaceum (crossability rate 12.1%) and the reciprocal cross (crossability rate 50.7%) produced plump seeds. Only those from the former cross germinated, producing sterile plants with a phenotype that was intermediate between those of the parents. In these hybrids (2n = 21), an average of 13.77 chromosomes per cell paired at meiotic metaphase I. Trivalents were only rarely observed. Through dot-blot hybridizations, a highly repeated DNA sequence of D. villosum was found not to be represented in the genome of D. hordeaceum. By contrast, very similar restriction patterns were observed when a low-repeated DNA sequence or different single-copy sequences of D. villosum or two sequences in the plastidial DNA of rice were hybridized to Southern blots of the genomic DNAs of the two Dasypyrum species digested with different restriction endonucleases. By analyzing glutamic-oxaloacetic-transaminase, superoxide dismutase, alcohol dehydrogenase, and esterase isozyme systems, it was shown that both Dasypyrum species shared the same phenotypes, which differed from those found in hexaploid wheat. In situ hybridizations using DNA sequences encoding gliadins showed that these genes were located close to the centromere of three pairs of D. villosum chromosomes and that they had the same locations in six pairs of D. hordeaceum chromosomes. We conclude that the autoploid origin of D. hordeaceum from D. villosum, which cannot be defended on the basis of chromosomal traits, is suggested by the other findings obtained by comparing the two genomes. Key words : Dasypyrum hordeaceum, Dasypyrum villosum, phylogenetic relationships.