Navigation Links
Soybean adoption came early by many cultures, archaeologists say

EUGENE, Ore. -- Human domestication of soybeans is thought to have first occurred in central China some 3,000 years ago, but archaeologists now suggest that cultures in even earlier times and in other locations adopted the legume (Glycine max).

Comparisons of 949 charred soybean samples from 22 sites in northern China, Japan and South Korea -- found in ancient households including hearths, flooring and dumping pits -- with 180 modern charred and unburned samples were detailed in the Nov. 4 edition of the online journal PLoS ONE, a publication of the Public Library of Science. The findings, say lead author Gyoung-Ah Lee, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon, add a new view to long-running assumptions about soybean domestication that had been based on genetic and historical records.

"Preserved beans have been carbonized, and that distorts the sizes," Lee said. "So we experimented with modern soybeans, charring them to compare them with historical samples. All the different sizes and shapes of soybeans may indicate different efforts in different times by different cultural groups in different areas."

Experts argue that larger beans reflect domestication, but the transition zone between smaller wild-type soybeans and larger hybridized versions is not understood, Lee said. Small-seeded soybeans indicating wild-type soybeans date to 9,000 years ago. Historical evidence to date shows a close relationship between soybeans and use in China during the Zhou Dynasty, about 2,000 years ago. The new study moves domestication back to perhaps 5,500 years ago.

"Soybeans appeared to be linked to humans almost as soon as villages were established in northern China," said co-author Gary Crawford, a professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, in a news release. "Soybean seems to be a plant that does well in human-impacted habitats. In turn, humans began to learn how tasty soybean was and how useful it was."

Today, of course, soybeans are used as livestock feed and to make cooking oil, tofu, tempeh, edamame and protein powder for human consumption.

The new archaeological evidence, Lee says, should be a springboard for archaeologists, crop scientists and plant geneticists to collaborate on understanding cultural contributions, which may lead them to better soybean characteristics. Cultural knowledge, she said, could fill in gaps that relate to domestication and genetic changes of the legume.

"I think one contribution that archaeologists can make is how peoples in ancient times contributed to our heritage of this viable crop and how we can trace their efforts and the methods to help guide us to make even better crops today," Lee said.

In Lee's homeland of South Korea, the research team uncovered evidence for a cultural selection for larger sized soybeans at 3,000 years ago. The evidence for such dating, which also surfaced in Japan, indicates that the farming of soybeans was much more widespread in times much earlier than previously assumed, researchers concluded.


Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Oregon

Related biology news :

1. Breeding soybeans for improved feed
2. Biology of the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in the United States
3. To avoid carbon debt, CRP beats fields of corn, soybeans
4. U of M project will help corn and soybean farmers prepare for climate change
5. New and old threats to soybean production
6. Molecular technique advances soybean rust resistance research
7. Starch-controlling gene fuels more protein in soybean plants
8. Soybean germplasm evaluations give US a head start against soybean rust pathogen
9. Research proves new soybean meal sources are good fish meal alternatives
10. Study shows smaller rows contribute to more soybean yields in colder climates
11. Pest-resistant soybeans grow out of MSU research lab
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Soybean adoption came early by many cultures, archaeologists say
(Date:5/9/2016)... UAE, May 9, 2016 Elevay ... comes to expanding freedom for high net worth professionals ... in today,s globally connected world, there is still no ... could ever duplicate sealing your deal with a firm ... passports by taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics ... of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... angles, which can be used to compute factors ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 A ... collected from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The ... genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce ... cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, ... 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, ... and multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess ... of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... either as a single dose (ranging from 45 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: