The period from the late third millennium BC to the start of the first millennium AD witnesses the first steps towards food globalization in which a significant number of important crops and animals, independently domesticated within China, India, Africa and West Asia, traversed Central Asia greatly increasing Eurasian agricultural diversity. This paper utilizes an archaeobotanical database (AsCAD), to explore evidence for these crop translocations along southern and northern routes of interaction between east and west. To begin, crop translocations from the Near East across India and Central Asia are examined for wheat (Triticum aestivum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) from the eighth to the second millennia BC when they reach China. The case of pulses and flax (Linum usitatissimum) that only complete this journey in Han times (206 BC–AD 220), often never fully adopted, is also addressed. The discussion then turns to the Chinese millets, Panicum miliaceum and Setaria italica, peaches (Amygdalus persica) and apricots (Armeniaca vulgaris), tracing their movement from the fifth millennium to the second millennium BC when the Panicum miliaceum reaches Europe and Setaria italica Northern India, with peaches and apricots present in Kashmir and Swat. Finally, the translocation of japonica rice from China to India that gave rise to indica rice is considered, possibly dating to the second millennium BC. The routes these crops travelled include those to the north via the Inner Asia Mountain Corridor, across Middle Asia, where there is good evidence for wheat, barley and the Chinese millets. The case for japonica rice, apricots and peaches is less clear, and the northern route is contrasted with that through northeast India, Tibet and west China. Not all these journeys were synchronous, and this paper highlights the selective long-distance transport of crops as an alternative to demic-diffusion of farmers with a defined crop package.
Those of you that remember us agonizing about the minutae of agrobiodiversity iconography, to the extent of wondering if this was indeed what it seemed to be, will rejoice with us that, with regards to pomegranates at least, we seem to have found...
The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), led by Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, released its findings today in a report entitled ‘From Uniformity to Diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems.’ The report was launched at the Trondheim Biodiversity Conference […]
No, mobile phones did not improve the economic welfare of fishermen in Kerala by allowing them to track market prices in different ports. And no, it has not been the antics of environmental activists to stall the adoption of Golden Rice by the world’s poor. Whatever next? The figure for worldwide crop genetic erosion is […]
Nice to see what I hope is the beginning of a “superfoods” backlash, spearheaded by Sense About Science and their Ask For Evidence campaign, together with the British Dietetic Association: Bioversity’s DG Ann Tutwiler gave the compellingly titled presentation On NOT finding the world’s next superfood at the Kew shindig a couple of weeks back, […]
As an astute researcher, the doctor grew curious about the Carolina Gold he’d read so much about. And he soon discovered that seed for the original plant was still being banked at the USDA’s Rice Research Institute in Texas. After Schulze made an inquiry with the USDA, an agronomist named Richard Bollock, who shared his […]
Please everyone run on over to Jeremy’s Eat This Podcast and listen to his masterly appreciation of the life and career of legendary Italian wheat breeder Nazareno Strampelli, The True Father of the First Green Revolution, on the 150th anniversary...
Sorry for not pointing it out at the time, but the CIMMYT genebank really went all out for the International Day of Biodiversity last week, with this nifty video on Facebook… …and something I believe is called a slate.
In February 2016, a new fungal disease was spotted in wheat fields across eight districts in Bangladesh. The epidemic spread to an estimated 15,741 hectares, about 16% of cultivated wheat area in Bangladesh, with yield losses reaching up to 100%. Within weeks of the onset of the epidemic, we performed transcriptome sequencing of symptomatic leaf samples collected directly from Bangladeshi fields. Population genomics analyses revealed that the outbreak was caused by a wheat-infecting South American lineage of the blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. We show that genomic surveillance can be rapidly applied to monitor plant disease outbreaks and provide valuable information regarding the identity and origin of the infectious agent.
“Worldwide Evaluation of Quinoa: Preliminary Results from Post International Year of Quinoa FAO Projects in 9 Countries.” The title sounded promising enough. At last, something scientifically worthwhile emerging from one of those international years.
The Indigenous Crop Biodiversity Festival, in Maui, Hawaii, August 24-30, 2016 is a recognized parallel event to the IUCN World Conservation Congress. It offers an opportunity to explore the role of indigenous crop biodiversity conservation in food security and in reducing agricultural impacts to natural ecosystems from practitioners perspectives, as well as a look into […]
You remember this book, right? We enthused about it over a year ago when it first came out. An old friend, Frederik van Oudenhoven, and his friend and colleague Jamila Haider, are deep in the proofs of what looks to be a wonderful book. With Our Own Hands “tells, for the first time, the cultural […]
We talked about the legendary Ethiopian coffee landrace called Geisha a couple of times on the blog, but I don’t think we ever mentioned by name the guy who actually first took it from CATIE’s genebank in Turrialba, Costa Rica to Panama, and thence the world. Well, his name was Pachi Sarracín, and he unfortunately […]
Gayle Volk and Adam Henk of USDA recently published a fascinating article on “Historic American Apple Cultivars: Identification and Availability.” Gayle kindly agreed to summarize it for us. Thanks, Gayle.
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