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Research pushes back history of crop development 10,000 years
Date:9/19/2008

ctations of a protracted model for the origins of domesticated crops used computer simulations that showed that over time a cultivated population will become monophyletic (settle into one stable species) at a rate proportional to its population size as compared various gene variations in the wild populations. They found this rate of change matched closely the 3000 years it took the tough rachis mutant to become established.

Ironically, this process is actually accelerated if there is more than one wild source population (in other words if attempts at domestication happen more than once) because any resulting hybrid between those domesticated populations then has a heightened differentiation compared with either one of the wild populations of the two parent plants.

This mathematical model also more supportive of a longer complex origin of plants through cross breeding of a number of attempts at domestication rather than a single plant type being selectively bred and from a single useful mutation that is selectively grown quickly out paces the benefits natural selection

Dr Robin Allaby says:

"This picture of protracted development of crops has major implications for the understanding of the biology of the domestication process and these strike chords with other areas of evolutionary biology."

"This lengthy development should favour the close linkage of domestication syndrome trait genes which may become much more important because linked genes will not be broken up by gene flow and this makes trait selection and retention easier. Interestingly, as more crop genomes become mapped, the close linkage of two or more domestication syndrome genes has been reported on several occasions."

"This process has similarities to the evolution of 'supergenes' in which many genes cluster around a single locus to contribute to one overall purpose."

"We now need to move this research area to a new level. Domes
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Contact: Dr. Robin Allaby
r.g.allaby@warwick.ac.uk
44-024-765-75059
University of Warwick
Source:Eurekalert

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