- Key message: Here, we report on copy number variation of transposable elements and on the genome-specific proliferation in wheat. In addition, we report on revolutionary and evolutionary dynamics of transposons. Wheat is a valuable model for understanding the involvement of transposable elements (TEs) in speciation as wheat species (Triticum-Aegilops group) have diverged from a common ancestor, have undergone two events of speciation through allopolyploidy, and contain a very high fraction of TEs. However, an unbiased genome-wide examination of TE variation among these species has not been conducted. Our research utilized quantitative real time PCR to assess the relative copy numbers of 16 TE families in various Triticum and Aegilops species. We found (1) high variation and genome-specificity of TEs in wheat species, suggesting they were active throughout the evolution of wheat, (2) neither Ae. searsii nor Ae. speltoides by themselves can be the only contributors of the B genome to wheat, and (3) nonadditive changes in TE quantities in polyploid wheat. This study indicates the apparent involvement of large TEs in creating genetic variation in revolutionary and evolutionary scales following allopolyploidization events, presumably assisting in the diploidization of homeologous chromosomes.