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Cell. 2006 Dec 29;127(7):1309-21.

The molecular genetics of crop domestication.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Ten thousand years ago human societies around the globe began to transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture. By 4000 years ago, ancient peoples had completed the domestication of all major crop species upon which human survival is dependent, including rice, wheat, and maize. Recent research has begun to reveal the genes responsible for this agricultural revolution. The list of genes to date tentatively suggests that diverse plant developmental pathways were the targets of Neolithic "genetic tinkering," and we are now closer to understanding how plant development was redirected to meet the needs of a hungry world.

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