Mingsheng Chen, Klaus Mayer, Steve Rounsley, Rod Wing and colleagues report the genome sequence of African rice (Oryza glaberrima), a different species than Asian rice. The authors resequenced 20 O. glaberrima accessions and 94 Oryza barthii accessions (the putative progenitor species of O. glaberrima), and their analyses support the hypothesis that O. glaberrima was domesticated in a single region along the upper Niger river.
The cultivation of rice in Africa dates back more than 3,000 years. Interestingly, African rice is not of the same origin as Asian rice (Oryza sativa L.) but rather is an entirely different species (i.e., Oryza glaberrima Steud.). Here we present a high-quality assembly and annotation of the O. glaberrimagenome and detailed analyses of its evolutionary history of domestication and selection. Population genomics analyses of 20 O. glaberrima and 94 Oryza barthii accessions support the hypothesis thatO. glaberrima was domesticated in a single region along the Niger river as opposed to noncentric domestication events across Africa. We detected evidence for artificial selection at a genome-wide scale, as well as with a set of O. glaberrima genes orthologous to O. sativa genes that are known to be associated with domestication, thus indicating convergent yet independent selection of a common set of genes during two geographically and culturally distinct domestication processes.