Document Detail

Reconsidering domestication of legumes versus cereals in the ancient near east.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19326787     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In this paper, we discuss, from both biological and cultural perspectives, the ancient human-plant liaison that gave rise to Near Eastern agriculture. We explain the biological aspects of Near Eastern plant domestication by a comparative analysis of legume vs. cereal crop evolution. This comparison is illustrated by the natural distribution, ecological affinity, physiology, population structure, floral biology, growth habit, plant stature, seed dispersal mode, and seed dormancy of both wild and domesticated plants of these crop groups. We discuss the differences between Near Eastern legumes and cereals with regard to each of the above aspects, and we highlight the relevance of these differences with regard to Neolithic decision-making, adoption for farming, and subsequent evolution under domestication. We reached the following conclusions: (1) Near Eastern legumes underwent different evolutionary trajectories under domestication as compared with their companion cereals, despite apparent similarities between selection under domestication of both crop groups. (2) Careful comparison of pea, lentil, and chickpea shows that each of the Near Eastern legume crops has a unique evolutionary history in its own right, and this also holds true for the cereal crops. (3) The evolutionary history of each of the Near Eastern crops, prior to as well as after domestication, is well-reflected in its adaptation profile in present-day cropping systems, which determines each crop's relative economic importance in different world regions (e.g., chickpea is a major pulse in the Indian subcontinent, and pea is a more important crop in temperate regions, while barley has the widest adaptation, extending from high-latitude temperate regions to semi-arid Mediterranean systems). (4) Ancient choice-making as reflected in the founder crops repertoire, involved nutritional considerations that may have outweighed grain yield per area and/or time unit criteria.
Shahal Abbo; Yehoshua Saranga; Zvi Peleg; Zohar Kerem; Simcha Lev-Yadun; Avi Gopher
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Quarterly review of biology     Volume:  84     ISSN:  0033-5770     ISO Abbreviation:  Q Rev Biol     Publication Date:  2009 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-03-30     Completed Date:  2009-06-05     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376515     Medline TA:  Q Rev Biol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  29-50     Citation Subset:  IM    
R H. Smith Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture, Levi Eshkol School of Agriculture, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel. ABBO@AGRI.HUJI.AC.IL
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MeSH Terms
Agriculture / history*
Cereals / history*
Fabaceae / history*
Genetic Speciation*
History, Ancient
Middle East

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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