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Archaeobotany and Domestication
Crop origins evidence from archaeology and botany
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Association of functional nucleotide polymorphisms at DTH2 with the northward expansion of rice cultivation in Asia

Association of functional nucleotide polymorphisms at DTH2 with the northward expansion of rice cultivation in Asia | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Flowering time (i.e., heading date in crops) is an important ecological trait that determines growing seasons and regional adaptability of plants to specific natural environments. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is a short-day plant that originated in the tropics. Increasing evidence suggests that the northward expansion of cultivated rice was accompanied by human selection of the heading date under noninductive long-day (LD) conditions. We report here the molecular cloning and characterization of DTH2 (for Days to heading on chromosome 2), a minor-effect quantitative trait locus that promotes heading under LD conditions. We show that DTH2 encodes a CONSTANS-like protein that promotes heading by inducing the florigen genes Heading date 3a and RICE FLOWERING LOCUS T 1, and it acts independently of the known floral integrators Heading date 1 and Early heading date 1. Moreover, association analysis and transgenic experiments identified two functional nucleotide polymorphisms in DTH2 that correlated with early heading and increased reproductive fitness under natural LD conditions in northern Asia. Our combined population genetics and network analyses suggest that DTH2 likely represents a target of human selection for adaptation to LD conditions during rice domestication and/or improvement, demonstrating an important role of minor-effect quantitative trait loci in crop adaptation and breeding.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, February 20, 2013 9:43 AM

The DTH gene which is linked to daylength controlled flowering (or the lacjk thereof) underwent a post-domestication selection event in temperate japonica rice. This is as we might have predicted, and suggests important adaptations as rice first spread north, for example from Yangtze basin to Yangshao culture zone. This is also a contrast from barley in which daylength neutral varieties already existed in the wild.

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Pomegranates and the art of herbivore attraction

Pomegranates and the art of herbivore attraction | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Jeanne walks you through the botany you need to know to understand pomegranate fruit structure.  Jeanne’s definition of “need to know” is arguably a bit broad and includes a brief tour of the many ...

Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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a fun botanical breakdown of the Pomegranate

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Investigation of the ultrastructural characteristics of foxtail and broomcorn millet during carbonization and its application in archaeobotany - Springer

Investigation of the ultrastructural characteristics of foxtail and broomcorn millet during carbonization and its application in archaeobotany - Springer | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Fossilized caryopses (or grains) of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) are important archaeobotanical materials for the study of early human agricultural activities. The morphology and ultrastructural characteristics of carbonized modern millets caryopses treated in a drying oven and burning in a field were investigated at different temperatures to study how fossilized millets are formed. The caryopses shrank gradually at temperatures below 200°C, and starch granules in the endosperm retained their crystalline structure. At 250°C the foxtail millet caryopses expanded, whereas the broomcorn millet caryopses were greatly deformed. At this temperature, the structure of the starch granules of both millets became amorphous. At 300°C the caryopses partially turned to ash and became porous, and the ultrastructure of the starch granules was transformed into alveolate cavities. Fossil caryopses from the prehistoric storage cellar at the Beiniu Site retained their crystalline structure and were formed by the dehydrating effect of carbonization, indicating that water molecules were not involved in the starch crystallization. The results of a field burning experiment demonstrated that the ultrastructure of carbonized caryopses placed on the ground under the fire was amorphous. The amorphous ultrastructure of the carbonized caryopses recovered from the archaeological layers is consistent with the expected structure of caryopses that have been carbonized at 250°C. Therefore, we suggest that the recovered caryopses were formed at about 250°C by baking rather than by burning in an open fire. 

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Millet charring experiments. More needed , and here as some that I missed last summer.

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Phytolith morphology research on wild and domesticated rice species in East Asia

Phytolith morphology research on wild and domesticated rice species in East Asia | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Systematical descriptions of phytoliths from rice species in East Asia are scarce. In order to investigate the relationship among diversity of phytolith morphology, taxonomy and genome, comparative research on phytolith morphology of the wild and domesticated rice species is first performed on the basis of statistics and cluster analysis. All morphological parameters were measured at 500× magnification using a Zeiss light microscope. 3-D plots and cluster analysis are performed by SPSS 10.0 software. The leaves and inflorescences of domesticated and wild rice contain a great diversity of phytolith types including long cells, short cells, bulliform cells, hair cells, irregular epidermal cells, mesophyll and vascular tissues. Comparative research on phytolith morphology demonstrates that most overlap occurs among long cells, short cells, bulliform cells, hair cells and vascular tissues at the species level. Rondels, crosses, long cells, hair cells, parallepipedal bulliform cells, tracheid and vascular tissue exhibit no taxonomical value. Complex saddles and irregular epidermal phytoliths might be diagnostic to the rice species that had not been described before. Further comparative research on the morphological features of three phytolith types from the wild and domesticated rice species has confirmed that double-peaked glume cells measurements can separate domesticated Oryza species from wild ones successfully. Hierarchical cluster analysis on all morphological parameters of bilobates, cuneiform bulliform cells and double-peaked glume cells strongly demonstrates that phytolith assemblage appears to be under genetic control and therefore reflect taxonomical significance. The results are significant for plant physiology, rice cultivation and environmental archaeology.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Still doubt phytoliths will resolve the where and when of  rice domestication; not is any indication of how this might represent a process suggested. But, some useful illustrations.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, February 4, 2013 8:39 AM

I am still not convinced that phytoliths are the way to go to track domestication in rice. For one thing no causal link between cultivation and phytolith morphology has yet been proposed. The samples size of rufipogon and sativa in this study remains miniscule and with uncontrolled for environmental variables. Having said that some useful phytolith illustrations, descriptions and measurements here for application in rice-growing Asia.

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Polymorphism pattern at a miniature inverted-repeat transposable element locus downstream of the domestication gene Teosinte-branched1 in wild and domesticated pearl millet - Dussert - 2012 - Molec...

Polymorphism pattern at a miniature inverted-repeat transposable element locus downstream of the domestication gene Teosinte-branched1 in wild and domesticated pearl millet - Dussert - 2012 - Molec... | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Unravelling the mechanisms involved in adaptation to understand plant morphological evolution is a challenging goal. For crop species, identification of molecular causal polymorphisms involved in domestication traits is central to this issue. Pearl millet, a domesticated grass mostly found in semi-arid areas of Africa and India, is an interesting model to address this topic: the domesticated form shares common derived phenotypes with some other cereals such as a decreased ability to develop basal and axillary branches in comparison with the wild phenotype. Two recent studies have shown that the orthologue of the maize gene Teosinte-Branched1 in pearl millet (PgTb1) was probably involved in branching evolution during domestication and that a miniature inverted-repeat transposable element (MITE) of the Tuareg family was inserted in the 3′ untranslated region of PgTb1. For a set of 35 wild and domesticated populations, we compared the polymorphism patterns at this MITE and at microsatellite loci. The Tuareg insertion was nearly absent in the wild populations, whereas a strong longitudinal frequency cline was observed in the domesticated populations. The geographical pattern revealed by neutral microsatellite loci clearly demonstrated that isolation by distance does not account for the existence of this cline. However, comparison of population differentiation at the microsatellite and the MITE loci and analyses of the nucleotide polymorphism pattern in the downstream region of PgTb1 did not show evidence that the cline at the MITE locus has been shaped by selection, suggesting the implication of a neutral process. Alternative hypotheses are discussed.

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Silica extracted from rice husks makes for greener tyre

Silica extracted from rice husks makes for greener tyre | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
TYRES are remarkable pieces of engineering. At high speed in slippery bends they provide only a few square centimetres of contact with the road, yet they help a...
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

The author Sanjay Eksambekar is really branching out. From Neolithic cattle dung phytoliths to car tires!

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, January 23, 2013 8:44 AM

archaeobotany meets industry

Jeremy Cherfas's comment, January 24, 2013 2:41 AM
I don't suppose the soil would make better use of those rice husks?
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PLOS ONE: Deep Sequencing of RNA from Ancient Maize Kernels

PLOS ONE: Deep Sequencing of RNA from Ancient Maize Kernels | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The characterization of biomolecules from ancient samples can shed otherwise unobtainable insights into the past. Despite the fundamental role of transcriptomal change in evolution, the potential of ancient RNA remains unexploited – perhaps due to dogma associated with the fragility of RNA. We hypothesize that seeds offer a plausible refuge for long-term RNA survival, due to the fundamental role of RNA during seed germination. Using RNA-Seq on cDNA synthesized from nucleic acid extracts, we validate this hypothesis through demonstration of partial transcriptomal recovery from two sources of ancient maize kernels. The results suggest that ancient seed transcriptomics may offer a powerful new tool with which to study plant domestication.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

This could be a methodologial breakthrough, n terms of being able to recover past gene expression just gene sequences. However, there is still more methodological development needed, perhaps with high throughput genomics. Eventually this may provide a new source insights on domestication.

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Environmental change, agricultural innovation, and the spread of cotton agriculture in the Old World

Environmental change, agricultural innovation, and the spread of cotton agriculture in the Old World | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

► Cotton seeds from Uzbekistan are the earliest documented for temperate Eurasia. ► Transmission occurred before the Islamic Agricultural Revolution. ► Transmission occurred during intense local environmental and cultural change. ► Small-scale innovations are responsible for this diffusion to temperate climates. ► Processes specific to the transmission of fiber crops are explored.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

An updated database of old world archaeological cotton finds, and some nice plots of latitude against age, which indicte the very late spread of cotton from its sub-tropical origins.

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ScienceDirect.com - Journal of Archaeological Science - Six seasons of wild pea harvest in Israel; bearing on Near Eastern plant domestication

ScienceDirect.com - Journal of Archaeological Science - Six seasons of wild pea harvest in Israel; bearing on Near Eastern plant domestication | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

► Six repeated harvest seasons of wild pea showed no decline in sites’ grain yield. ► Site-specific factors influence the grain yield more than the repeated predation.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

The latest ms from the Abbo /Lev-Yadun stable of experimental apporaches to near Eastern crop domestication, on wild pea harvesting. It has some  useful data on yields, and some comments on the role of rodent predator pressure on wild seeds. I don't really see how it is against the protracted domestication model as their conclusion claims!

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Molecular analysis of the parallel domestication of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) in Mesoamerica and the Andes - Bitocchi - 2012 - New Phytologist - Wiley Online Library

Molecular analysis of the parallel domestication of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) in Mesoamerica and the Andes - Bitocchi - 2012 - New Phytologist - Wiley Online Library | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
A reduction in genetic diversity in both of these gene pools was found, which was three-fold greater in Mesoamerica compared with the Andes. This appears to be a result of a bottleneck that occurred before domestication in the Andes, which strongly impoverished this wild germplasm, leading to the minor effect of the subsequent domestication bottleneck (i.e. sequential bottleneck).These findings show the importance of considering the evolutionary history of crop species as a major factor that influences their current level and structure of genetic diversity. Furthermore, these data highlight a single domestication event within each gene pool. Although the findings should be interpreted with caution, this evidence indicates the Oaxaca valley in Mesoamerica, and southern Bolivia and northern Argentina in South America, as the origins of common bean domestication.
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Morphological diversity in breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae): insights into domestication, conservation, and cultivar identification - Springer

Morphological diversity in breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae): insights into domestication, conservation, and cultivar identification - Springer | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Over millennia of breadfruit cultivation, hundreds of named cultivars have been developed that display a high degree of morphological diversity. The current study was undertaken to evaluate morphological diversity within the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s breadfruit germplasm collection, the largest and most diverse breadfruit collection in the world. A set of 57 standardized morphological descriptors including 29 leaf, 22 fruit, four seed, and two male inflorescence characteristics were used to describe and contrast 221 accessions of breadfruit including accessions of Artocarpus camansi Blanco, A. altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg, A. mariannensis Trécul, early generation A. altilis × A. mariannensis hybrids, and domesticated A. altilis × A. mariannensis hybrids. A morphological transition from heavily seeded fruit covered with flexible spines to fewer seeded, smoother skinned fruit of similar size was observed in the domestication of A. altilis from A. camansi. Further selection of true seedless, smooth-skinned cultivars of A. altilis appears to have occurred with human migrations from Melanesia into Polynesia. Cultivars from Micronesia exhibit morphological characteristics indicative of hybridization with the endemic species A. mariannensis. These data were used to generate a multi-access cultivar identification key on the Lucid platform that can be used to identify trees of known cultivars or to predict nearest cultivar relationships for previously undescribed cultivars. Overall, this study provides new insights into the morphological changes that occurred during domestication, helps visualize the diversity that exists across geographical regions, and provides a framework for cultivar identification and germplasm conservation.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Provides a nice clear set of pathways into domestication and variation of breadfruits.

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Geographical variation of foxtail millet, Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. based on rDNA PCR–RFLP - Springer

Geographical variation of foxtail millet, Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. based on rDNA PCR–RFLP - Springer | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The rDNA PCR–RFLP of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) germ-plasm collected throughout Eurasia and from a part of Africa was investigated with five restriction enzymes according to our previous study. Foxtail millet germ-plasms were classified by length of the rDNA IGS and RFLP; clear geographical differentiation was observed between East Asia, the Nansei Islands of Japan-Taiwan-the Philippines area, South Asia and Afghanistan-Pakistan. We also found evidence of migration of foxtail millet landraces between the areas. We calculated diversity index (D) for each region and found that center of diversity of this millet is East Asia such as China, Korea and Japan.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, January 11, 2013 11:02 AM

While the high diversity in East Asia is unsurprising given the origins there, what is of note is the lack of diversity in both India and Southeast Asia, suggested ral bottlenecks and limited reintroductions to those regions. Also there is a clear divide between SE Asia and South Asia (with Burma grouping with India) which is to be noted. This division parallels that in rice which has led me to postulate japonica introduction to India via central Asia (also supported by archaeological evidence: see http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12520-010-0035-y ;). Curiously the  South Asian type is also evident in the Himalayas (e.g. Bhutan) despite the presence of Sino-Tibetan that one would expect to have carried diversity from central China.

Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, January 11, 2013 11:04 AM

Interesting to see the genetic similarity between Indian and eastern African foxtail millets. Although I suppose this could be due to recent/colonial introductions rather than anything ancient.

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One problem, two questions, three books about the vanishing diversity of cultivated plants - Springer

One problem, two questions, three books about the vanishing diversity of cultivated plants - Springer | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The review deals with three books focused on two questions dealing with a single problem: how human cultures and crop cultures are interrelated? The two questions dealt with are: Is there a conflict between the evolution of cultivated plants and the present trend of our cultural (including social, economical, ideological or political) evolution? If yes, what can be done to diminish this conflict? The three books focused on these questions deal with (1) growing number of endangered crops on global scale (Khoshbakht and Hammer, Threatened Crop Species Diversity. Shahid Beheshti University Press, Teheran 2010), (2) massive erosion of locally and regionally important crop varieties and associated traditional knowledge followed by collapse of whole agroecosystems and landscapes on a country scale (Antofie, A red list of crop plant varieties for Romania—Lista rosie a varietatilor plantelor de cultura din Romania. Publ. House Lucian Blaga Univ., Sibiu 2011), and (3) the growing number of endangered human communities (ethnic, cultural and linguistic islands) which preserved for centuries many valuable genetic resources (Hammer et al. 2011).

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

On lost crops and the Khoshbakht & Hammer book, see also my blog from last year: http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/obscure-crops-of-2011-and-obscure-book.html

 

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Postglacial recolonization history of the European crabapple (Malus sylvestris Mill.), a wild contributor to the domesticated apple - Cornille - 2013 - Molecular Ecology - Wiley Online Library

Postglacial recolonization history of the European crabapple (Malus sylvestris Mill.), a wild contributor to the domesticated apple - Cornille - 2013 - Molecular Ecology - Wiley Online Library | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Understanding the way in which the climatic oscillations of the Quaternary Period have shaped the distribution and genetic structure of extant tree species provides insight into the processes driving species diversification, distribution and survival. Deciphering the genetic consequences of past climatic change is also critical for the conservation and sustainable management of forest and tree genetic resources, a timely endeavour as the Earth heads into a period of fast climate change. We used a combination of genetic data and ecological niche models to investigate the historical patterns of biogeographic range expansion of a wild fruit tree, the European crabapple (Malus sylvestris), a wild contributor to the domesticated apple. Both climatic predictions for the last glacial maximum and analyses of microsatellite variation indicated that M. sylvestris experienced range contraction and fragmentation. Bayesian clustering analyses revealed a clear pattern of genetic structure, with one genetic cluster spanning a large area in Western Europe and two other genetic clusters with a more limited distribution range in Eastern Europe, one around the Carpathian Mountains and the other restricted to the Balkan Peninsula. Approximate Bayesian computation appeared to be a powerful technique for inferring the history of these clusters, supporting a scenario of simultaneous differentiation of three separate glacial refugia. Admixture between these three populations was found in their suture zones. A weak isolation by distance pattern was detected within each population, indicating a high extent of historical gene flow for the European crabapple.

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PLOS ONE: The Prey Pathway: A Regional History of Cattle (Bos taurus) and Pig (Sus scrofa) Domestication in the Northern Jordan Valley, Israel

PLOS ONE: The Prey Pathway: A Regional History of Cattle (Bos taurus) and Pig (Sus scrofa) Domestication in the Northern Jordan Valley, Israel | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The faunal assemblage from the 9th-8th millennium BP site at Sha'ar Hagolan, Israel, is used to study human interaction with wild suids and cattle in a time period just before the appearance of domesticated animals of these species in the Jordan Valley. Our results, based on demographic and osteometric data, indicate that full domestication of both cattle and suids occurred at the site during the 8th millennium. Importantly, domestication was preceded in both taxa by demographic and metric population parameters indicating severe overhunting. The possible role of overhunting in shaping the characteristics of domesticated animals and the social infrastructure to ownership of herds is then explored.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

This is about animal domestication, not plants, but provides a nicve study of two later animal domesticates (pig and cow) of the southern Levant, both aergued to be driven into herding by overhunting first. This add further evidence to the varied mosaic of early farming origins across the Fertile Crescent as a whole: just contrast this with the early sheep, goat and cattle reported from elsewhere. One sees a similar variable mosaic pattern in the crop record, as argued by me, Willcox and Allaby in World Archaeology 43(4), 628-652

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Quaternary International - Comprehensive perspectives on phytolith studies in Quaternary Research

Quaternary International - Comprehensive perspectives on phytolith studies in Quaternary Research | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Phytolith studies have become a prominent part of the environmental, climatic and archaeological research debate of the last three decades. The high preservation rates of these inorganic particles, combined with the increased knowledge about their taxonomic and ecological value, makes phytoliths a well-exploited tool to study past environments, climate variability, and anthropic activities (both at settlement and landscape level). .... Graph showing the increase of phytolith publication in Geology and Archaeology (including human evolution) from the ScienceDirect™ group of journals

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Looks like a good range of studies collected in one issue, perhaps with some bias towards South America

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Kew's 'Difficult' Seeds Project - Species Profiles

Kew's 'Difficult' Seeds Project - Species Profiles | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
This page contains a links to species profiles identified by gene bank managers and technicians during workshops of Kew's 'Difficult' Seeds Project.
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

some great seed images

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Homage to the Seed's curator insight, February 21, 2013 6:15 PM

Fantstic project from the Millennium Seedbank.

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A conserved molecular basis for photoperiod adaptation in two temperate legumes

Legumes were among the first plant species to be domesticated, and accompanied cereals in expansion of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent into diverse environments across the Mediterranean basin, Europe, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Although several recent studies have outlined the molecular basis for domestication and eco-geographic adaptation in the two main cereals from this region, wheat and barley, similar questions remain largely unexplored in their legume counterparts. Here we identify two major loci controlling differences in photoperiod response between wild and domesticated pea, and show that one of these, HIGH RESPONSE TO PHOTOPERIOD (HR), is an ortholog of EARLY FLOWERING 3 (ELF3), a gene involved in circadian clock function. We found that a significant proportion of flowering time variation in global pea germplasm is controlled by HR, with a single, widespread functional variant conferring altered circadian rhythms and the reduced photoperiod response associated with the spring habit. We also present evidence that ELF3 has a similar role in lentil, another major legume crop, with a distinct functional variant contributing to reduced photoperiod response in cultivars widely deployed in short-season environments. Our results identify the factor likely to have permitted the successful prehistoric expansion of legume cultivation to Northern Europe, and define a conserved genetic basis for major adaptive changes in flowering phenology and growth habit in an important crop group.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

As with barley, the wide geographical dispersal of pea and lentil, especially to high latitide required cultivation into the summer, which inturn required turning off wild type photopheriod response.

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Ethnobiology Letters • Volume 3 • 2012

The Society of Ethnobiology is pleased to announce the completion of the third volume of Ethnobiology Letters (EBL), a gold open access, fully online journal for short communications.The volume opens and closes with a letter about the ethics of publishing from our new editor James Welch, who was recently elected to the Society's Board of Director's seat for Outreach-Inreach Coordinator

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Shiroakaza

Shiroakaza | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Shiroakaza, the japanese name of Chenopodium Album: among the most adaptable and resilient plants, it helped sustain mankind for thousands of years. This blog is the account of my findings and research on the subject of sustainable living: how to grow my own food in a temperate/continental climate and make my own energy with the least possible effort, practically starting from zero not being a farmer myself. You might call it a survival garden, I don't. This has to be a permanent success story

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Interesting blog with some yield and processing "experiments" with minor crops and wild foods.

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Neolithic farming in north-western Europe: archaeobotanical evidence fromIreland

Neolithic farming in north-western Europe: archaeobotanical evidence fromIreland | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

This paper presents new insights into the appearance of agriculture at the north-western edge of Europe, focussing on archaeobotanical evidence from Neolithic Ireland (4000–2500 cal BC). Previous studies were based upon a limited plant macro-remains dataset, as much of the Irish evidence is unpublished. A research project, 'Cultivating Societies', was implemented to examine the nature, timing and extent of agricultural activity in Neolithic Ireland through collation and analysis of different strands of published and unpublished archaeological and environmental evidence, with a particular focus on plant macro-remains, pollen, settlement and 14C data. This paper will focus on results of plant macro-remains analyses. Remains from a total of 52 excavated sites were collated and analysed, representing the most comprehensive study to date of Neolithic plant remains from this region. Cereals were present at many locations and site types, sometimes in large quantities and most often at sites dating to the earlier Neolithic (3750–3600 cal BC). Emmer wheat was the dominant crop, at least at this time. Other crops included naked and hulled barley, naked wheat, einkorn wheat and flax. Analysis of arable weeds indicates that early plots were not managed under a shifting cultivation regime, which has new implications for understanding Neolithic settlement practises and how communities engaged with landscapes. The variety of crops cultivated in Neolithic Ireland is similar to that in Britain, reflecting a decreasing diversity in crop types as agriculture spread from south-east to north-west Europe.

 
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Shows the narrowness of the early famring package that reached Ireland around 4000-3800 BC, like that in Britain, but marginally different. If the patterns in the UK radiocarbon record can be taken as a guide, this narrow package, of mostly emmer and naked barley, was not to last: the Bronze saw a reintroduction of a broader agricultural package (see Stevens and Fuller in Antiquity Sept 2009: http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/ant/086/ant0860707.htm)

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PLOS Genetics: New Insight into the History of Domesticated Apple: Secondary Contribution of the European Wild Apple to the Genome of Cultivated Varieties

PLOS Genetics: New Insight into the History of Domesticated Apple: Secondary Contribution of the European Wild Apple to the Genome of Cultivated Varieties | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The apple, one of the most ubiquitous and culturally important temperate fruit crops, provides us with a unique opportunity to study the process of domestication in trees. The number and identity of the progenitors of the domesticated apple and the erosion of genetic diversity associated with the domestication process remain debated. The Central Asian wild apple has been identified as the main progenitor, but other closely related species along the Silk Route running from Asia to Western Europe may have contributed to the genome of the domesticated crop. Using rapidly evolving genetic markers to make inferences about the recent evolutionary history of the domesticated apple, we found that the European crabapple has made an unexpectedly large contribution to the genome of the domesticated apple. Bidirectional gene flow between the domesticated apple and the European crabapple resulted in the domesticated apple being currently more similar genetically to this secondary genepool than to the ancestral progenitor, the Central Asian wild apple. We found that domesticated apples have evolved over long time scales, with contributions from at least two wild species in different geographic areas, with no significant erosion of genetic diversity. This process of domestication and diversification may be common to other fruit trees and contrasts with the models documented for annual crops.

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Starch grains analysis of stone knives from Changning site, Qinghai Province, Northwest China

Starch grains analysis of stone knives from Changning site, Qinghai Province, Northwest China | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

► Discuss the function of stone knife and plants use using the starch grains analysis. ► Indicate the stone knives may have been used for a variety of activities. ► Reveal that diverse crops were cultivated at Changning site in Qinghai Province 4000 years ago.

A total of 153 starch grains were retrieved from three stone knives, from which we identified starches from legumes, the Triticeae tribe, foxtail millet (Setaria italica), broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum), roots and tubers.

 

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

No surprising claims, and this would seem an approach with potential for relating tools to activities. Still it would be nice to see this alongside flotation samples from the same site for a more holistic view of plant activities.

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Domestication and geographic origin of Oryza sativa in China: insights from multilocus analysis of nucleotide variation of O. sativa and O. rufipogon - Wei - 2012 - Molecular Ecology - Wiley Online...

Domestication and geographic origin of Oryza sativa in China: insights from multilocus analysis of nucleotide variation of O. sativa and O. rufipogon - Wei - 2012 - Molecular Ecology - Wiley Online... | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Well, another genetic study indicating the hybridization of indica and japonica after separate starts to cultivation from separate wild stocks. However, this study also repeats the fallacy of a Pearl River origin from japonica based on misguided reliance on only the present timeplace of genetic diversity. ARCHAEOBOTANY and the fossil record MATTERS! See my earlier comments: http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/a-genome-map-that-is-not-map-of-origins.html

 

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Remnant genetic diversity detected in an ancient crop: Triticum dicoccon Schrank landraces from Asturias, Spain - Springer

Remnant genetic diversity detected in an ancient crop: Triticum dicoccon Schrank landraces from Asturias, Spain - Springer | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Emmer wheat, Triticum dicoccon Schrank was one of the founder crops of Neolithic agriculture. Though its cultivation was largely replaced by hexaploid wheats 2000 years ago, pockets of small scale cultivation can still be found. One such area is the Asturias region of Northern Spain, where emmer wheat remains a traditional crop for high value specialist culinary uses, and farmers grow locally adapted landraces. In order to study the diversity of these landraces, we sampled emmer wheat from different regions of Asturias, and genotyped multiple plants from each village using nuclear and chloroplast microsatellites. A high level of variation was observed with markers from both genomes, including a novel chloroplast haplotype. A strong geographic structure was observed in the Asturian emmer wheats in both the chloroplast markers and the nuclear microsatellite data.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

a small bit of relict Neolithic crop diversity in northern Spain

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