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Archaeobotany and Domestication
Crop origins evidence from archaeology and botany
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evidence for the incipient domestication of Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides L.: Chenopodiaceae) in a semi-arid region of Mexico

evidence for the incipient domestication of Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides L.: Chenopodiaceae) in a semi-arid region of Mexico | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Use and management of wild and weedy species may involve artificial selection, which can determine morphological, physiological, reproductive, and genetic divergences between wild and managed populations, resulting in the initial or incipient phases of plant domestication. In this study we combined ethnobotanical, morphological, phytochemical and genetic information for analyzing differences between managed and unmanaged populations of the Mexican edible weed, Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides L.), in Santa María Tecomavaca, Oaxaca, a rural community within the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Our hypothesis was that differences in morphology (e.g. leave dimensions and density of pubescence), phytochemistry (e.g. flavor, odor, and amount of strong scented and toxic compounds) and/or molecular genetic markers, between managed and wild populations of Epazote in Santa María Tecomavaca, would indicate that managed populations have been and/or are under a process of incipient domestication. Our results revealed the existence in the study area of morphological variants associated with a gradient of management intensity, which involved apparent improved palatability correlated with a lowering of chemical defense. Most remarkably, we found agreement in the groupings defined by the cluster analyses of morphological and genetic data. Although Epazote is considered a weed or, at best, a minor crop, the results from four lines of evidence (cultural differentiation patterns, gigantism, reduction in chemical defenses, toxic compounds and inheritance of adaptive traits) suggest the existence of an incipient domestication process in the study zone.

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Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture :: Contributing to food security and sustainability in a changing world | Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research

Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture :: Contributing to food security and sustainability in a changing world | Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Report of the outcomes of an Expert Workshop held by FAO and the Platform on Agrobiodiversity Research in April 2010.

The Workshop explored the different challenges that confront agriculture and the options that exist or could be developed and that would be needed to feed the world, cope with climate change and capitalize on synergies between agriculture and the environment.

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Soybean domestication came early in many cultures

The Archaeology News Network report on Lee, Crawford et al study on sotbean domestication. See also, my posting on the archaeobotanist blog: http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/soybean-archaeobotany-multiple-origins.html

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Scientists find clue to human evolution's burning question

Scientists find clue to human evolution's burning question | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The discovery in Africa of a one million year old fireplace may enable us to identify when humans first began using fire...
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Genetic diversity in the Red wild einkorn: T. urartu Gandilyan (Poaceae: Triticeae)

Genetic diversity in the Red wild einkorn: T. urartu Gandilyan (Poaceae: Triticeae) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Red wild einkorn, Triticum urartu, is increasingly being recognized as a source of genetic material for the improvement of wheat grain quality and for conferring resistance to various diseases such as Powdery Mildew and Leaf Rust resistance including the virulent race Ug99. Two hundred and two samples of T. urartu collected throughout much of its distribution were investigated by amplified restriction length polymorphism, AFLP™ to estimate the genetic diversity within and among them. To infer the genetic structure of the populations the data were subjected to analyses of molecular variance, AMOVA. The analyses of the samples enabled us to assess the location(s) of the richest area(s) in genetic diversity of the species. This area is found in north-western Syria and the adjacent South Turkey. It was also found that the similarity among populations did not reflect on their geographic closeness.

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Did Beer Spur the Rise of Agriculture and Politics?

Did Beer Spur the Rise of Agriculture and Politics? | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
More than 10,000 years ago, at the dawn of the Neolithic Period, the rise of agriculture changed the course of human history. There's evidence, however, that the first farmers' ancestors—members of the Natufian culture, which developed ...
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Elisha Evelyn's curator insight, January 24, 2014 2:32 PM

This was a life changing event that happend. They created something that still exist today. 

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Genetic diversity and origin of Japonica- and Indica-like rice biotypes of weedy rice in the Guangdong and Liaoning provinces of China

Genetic diversity and origin of Japonica- and Indica-like rice biotypes of weedy rice in the Guangdong and Liaoning provinces of China | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Weedy rice has been becoming a notorious weed in the paddy field of China in recent decades due to its increasing damage to rice yield and rice quality. In this study, a microsatellite technique with 21 pairs of SSR markers was utilized to estimate the genetic structure of two biotypes of weedy rice with Japonica and Indica rice characteristics, collected from Liaoning and Guangdong provinces, respectively. The genetic diversity of the weedy rice in the two provinces was relatively low (Liaoning h = 0.086; Guangdong h = 0.160), and distinctly large genetic differences existed between these two provinces (Gcs = 0.623). The genetic diversity was found primarily within populations, and genetic differentiation was relatively low within the same province. Both cluster analysis (UPGMA) and principle component analysis (PCA) showed that weedy rice had a closer relationship with the cultivated rice collected from the sample field than with other cultivated rice and common wild rice varieties in China. Thus, the results of this study on samples from the Liaoning and Guangdong provinces in China support the de-domestication hypothesis that weedy rice most probably originated from local cultivated rice.

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Next-generation sequencing for understanding and accelerating crop domestication

Next generation Sequencing (NGS) provides a powerful tool for discovery of domestication genes in crop plants and their wild relatives. The accelerated domestication of new plant species as crops may be facilitated by this knowledge. Re-sequencing of domesticated genotypes can identify regions of low diversity associated with domestication. Species-specific data can be obtained from related wild species by whole-genome shot-gun sequencing. This sequence data can be used to design species specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers. Sequencing of the products of PCR amplification of target genes can be used to explore genetic variation in large numbers of genes and gene families. Novel allelic variation in close or distant relatives can be characterized by NGS. Examples of recent applications of NGS to capture of genetic diversity for crop improvement include rice, sugarcane and Eucalypts. Populations of large numbers of individuals can be screened rapidly. NGS supports the rapid domestication of new plant species and the efficient identification and capture of novel genetic variation from related species.

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Early millet use in northern China

It is generally understood that foxtail millet and broomcorn millet were initially domesticated in Northern China where they eventually became the dominant plant food crops. The rarity of older archaeological sites and archaeobotanical work in the region, however, renders both the origins of these plants and their processes of domestication poorly understood. Here we present ancient starch grain assemblages recovered from cultural deposits, including carbonized residues adhering to an early pottery sherd as well as grinding stone tools excavated from the sites of Nanzhuangtou (11.5–11.0 cal kyBP) and Donghulin (11.0–9.5 cal kyBP) in the North China Plain. Our data extend the record of millet use in China by nearly 1,000 y, and the record of foxtail millet in the region by at least two millennia. The patterning of starch residues within the samples allow for the formulation of the hypothesis that foxtail millets were cultivated for an extended period of two millennia, during which this crop plant appears to have been undergoing domestication. Future research in the region will help clarify the processes in place.

 

See also blog comments at the archaeobotanist: http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/does-starch-evidence-push-back-foxtail.html

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, December 15, 2012 11:53 AM

Whether we can really judge domestication and domestiction process from starch grains require more work, but the patterns here are suggestive both of intensive use of Setaria italica (sensu lato) and possible some morphometric change in foxtail millet, all prior to the accepted 6000 BC start date for millet-based Neolithic farming.

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Castanea spp. biodiversity conservation: collection and characterization of the genetic diversity of an endangered species

Castanea spp. biodiversity conservation: collection and characterization of the genetic diversity of an endangered species | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Centuries of co-evolution between Castanea spp. biodiversity and human populations has resulted in the spread of rich and varied chestnut genetic diversity throughout most of the world, especially in mountainous and forested regions. Its plasticity and adaptability to different pedoclimates and the wide genetic variability of the species determined the spread of many different ecotypes and varieties in the wild. Throughout the centuries, man has used, selected and preserved these different genotypes, vegetatively propagating them by grafting, for many applications: fresh consumption, production of flour, animal nutrition, timber production, thereby actively contributing to the maintenance of the natural biodiversity of the species, and providing an excellent example of conservation horticulture. Nonetheless, currently the genetic variability of the species is critically endangered and hundreds of ecotypes and varieties are at risk of being lost due to a number of phytosanitary problems (canker blight, Chryphonectria parasitica; ink disease, Phytophthora spp.; gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus), and because of the many years of decline and abandonment of chestnut cultivation, which resulted in the loss of the binomial male chestnut. Recently, several research and experimentation programmes have attempted to develop strategies for the conservation of chestnut biodiversity. The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the status of biodiversity conservation of the species and to present the results of a 7 year project aimed at the individuation and study of genetic diversity and conservation of Castanea spp. germplasm.

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Landscape of the Week: Kuk Early Agriculture World Heritage Site – Papua New Guinea | Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog

Landscape of the Week: Kuk Early Agriculture World Heritage Site – Papua New Guinea | Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The Kuk Early Agricultural World Heritage Site is Papua New Guinea’s first World Heritage Site, and as such there are added challenges around management, and increased pressure to establish a good process for future heritage sites in the country.

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