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Nat Genet. 2016 Sep;48(9):1089-93. doi: 10.1038/ng.3611. Epub 2016 Jul 18.

Genomic analysis of 6,000-year-old cultivated grain illuminates the domestication history of barley.

Author information

1
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) Gatersleben, Seeland, Germany.
2
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
3
Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
4
Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
5
Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.
6
Laboratory of Archaeozoology, Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
7
Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
8
Department of Biotechnology, Tel Hai College, Upper Galilee, Israel.
9
Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
10
Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
11
Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.
12
Department of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, USA.
13
Cell and Molecular Sciences, James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee, UK.
14
Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
15
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
16
Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK.
17
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany.

Abstract

The cereal grass barley was domesticated about 10,000 years before the present in the Fertile Crescent and became a founder crop of Neolithic agriculture. Here we report the genome sequences of five 6,000-year-old barley grains excavated at a cave in the Judean Desert close to the Dead Sea. Comparison to whole-exome sequence data from a diversity panel of present-day barley accessions showed the close affinity of ancient samples to extant landraces from the Southern Levant and Egypt, consistent with a proposed origin of domesticated barley in the Upper Jordan Valley. Our findings suggest that barley landraces grown in present-day Israel have not experienced major lineage turnover over the past six millennia, although there is evidence for gene flow between cultivated and sympatric wild populations. We demonstrate the usefulness of ancient genomes from desiccated archaeobotanical remains in informing research into the origin, early domestication and subsequent migration of crop species.

PMID:
27428749
DOI:
10.1038/ng.3611
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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