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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2017 Dec 5;372(1735). pii: 20160429. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0429.

Geographic mosaics and changing rates of cereal domestication.

Author information

1
School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Warwick, UK.
2
Institute of Archaeology, UCL, London, UK.
3
Institute for Comparative Research in Human and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan.
4
Institute of Archaeology, UCL, London, UK d.fuller@ucl.ac.uk.

Abstract

Domestication is the process by which plants or animals evolved to fit a human-managed environment, and it is marked by innovations in plant morphology and anatomy that are in turn correlated with new human behaviours and technologies for harvesting, storage and field preparation. Archaeobotanical evidence has revealed that domestication was a protracted process taking thousands of plant generations. Within this protracted process there were changes in the selection pressures for domestication traits as well as variation across a geographic mosaic of wild and cultivated populations. Quantitative data allow us to estimate the changing selection coefficients for the evolution of non-shattering (domestic-type seed dispersal) in Asian rice (Oryza sativa L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccon (Shrank) Schübl.) and einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum L.). These data indicate that selection coefficients tended to be low, but also that there were inflection points at which selection increased considerably. For rice, selection coefficients of the order of 0.001 prior to 5500 BC shifted to greater than 0.003 between 5000 and 4500 BC, before falling again as the domestication process ended 4000-3500 BC. In barley and the two wheats selection was strongest between 8500 and 7500 BC. The slow start of domestication may indicate that initial selection began in the Pleistocene glacial era.This article is part of the themed issue 'Process and pattern in innovations from cells to societies'.

KEYWORDS:

China; Near East; archaeobotany; archaeology; niche construction; origins of agriculture

PMID:
29061901
PMCID:
PMC5665816
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2016.0429
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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