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Plant Cell Physiol. 2011 May;52(5):738-49. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcr025. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

The domestication syndrome genes responsible for the major changes in plant form in the Triticeae crops.

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  • 1National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Plant Genome Research Unit, 2-1-2 Kan-non-dai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8602, Japan.


The process of crop domestication began 10,000 years ago in the transition of early humans from hunter/gatherers to pastoralists/farmers. Recent research has revealed the identity of some of the main genes responsible for domestication. Two of the major domestication events in barley were (i) the failure of the spike to disarticulate and (ii) the six-rowed spike. The former mutation increased grain yield by preventing grain loss after maturity, while the latter resulted in an up to 3-fold increase in yield potential. Here we provide an overview of the disarticulation systems and inflorescence characteristics, along with the genes underlying these traits, occurring in the Triticeae tribe.

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