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New Phytol. 2009;183(2):273-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02884.x. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

A comparative view of the evolution of grasses under domestication.

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1
Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution (UM2-CNRS), Université Montpellier 2, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France. glemin@univ-montp2.fr

Abstract

Crop grasses were among the first plants to be domesticated c. 12,000 yr ago, and they still represent the main staple crops for humans. During domestication, as did many other crops, grasses went through dramatic genetic and phenotypic changes. The recent massive increase in genomic data has provided new tools to investigate the genetic basis and consequences of domestication. Beyond the genetics of domestication, many aspects of grass biology, including their phylogeny and developmental biology, are also increasingly well studied, offering a unique opportunity to analyse the domestication process in a comparative way. Taking such a comparative point of view, we review the history of domesticated grasses and how domestication affected their phenotypic and genomic diversity. Considering recent theoretical developments and the accumulation of genetic data, we revisit more specifically the role of mating systems in the domestication process. We close by suggesting future directions for the study of domestication in grasses.

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