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      Presumed domestication? Evidence for wild rice cultivation and domestication in the fifth millennium BC of the Lower Yangtze region

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      Antiquity

      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          Prompted by a recent article by Jiang and Liu in Antiquity (80, 2006), Dorian Fuller and his co-authors return to the question of rice cultivation and consider some of the difficulties involved in identifying the transition from wild to domesticated rice. Using data from Eastern China, they propose that, at least for the Lower Yangtze region, the advent of rice domestication around 4000 BC was preceded by a phase of pre-domestication cultivation that began around 5000 BC. This rice, together with other subsistence foods like nuts, acorns and waterchestnuts, was gathered by sedentary hunter-gatherer-foragers. The implications for sedentism and the spread of agriculture as a long term process are discussed.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Phylogeography of Asian wild rice, Oryza rufipogon, reveals multiple independent domestications of cultivated rice, Oryza sativa.

          Cultivated rice, Oryza sativa L., represents the world's most important staple food crop, feeding more than half of the human population. Despite this essential role in world agriculture, the history of cultivated rice's domestication from its wild ancestor, Oryza rufipogon, remains unclear. In this study, DNA sequence variation in three gene regions is examined in a phylogeographic approach to investigate the domestication of cultivated rice. Results indicate that India and Indochina may represent the ancestral center of diversity for O. rufipogon. Additionally, the data suggest that cultivated rice was domesticated at least twice from different O. rufipogon populations and that the products of these two independent domestication events are the two major rice varieties, Oryza sativa indica and Oryza sativa japonica. Based on this geographical analysis, O. sativa indica was domesticated within a region south of the Himalaya mountain range, likely eastern India, Myanmar, and Thailand, whereas O. sativa japonica was domesticated from wild rice in southern China.
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            Diversity in the Oryza genus.

            The pan-tropical wild relatives of rice grow in a wide variety of habitats: forests, savanna, mountainsides, rivers and lakes. The completion of the sequencing of the rice nuclear and cytoplasmic genomes affords an opportunity to widen our understanding of the genomes of the genus Oryza. Research on the Oryza genus has begun to help to answer questions related to domestication, speciation, polyploidy and ecological adaptation that cannot be answered by studying rice alone. The wild relatives of rice have furnished genes for the hybrid rice revolution, and other genes from Oryza species with major impact on rice yields and sustainable rice production are likely to be found. Care is needed, however, when using wild relatives of rice in experiments and in interpreting the results of these experiments. Careful checking of species identity, maintenance of herbarium specimens and recording of Genbank accession numbers of material used in experiments should be standard procedure when studying wild relatives of rice.
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              Anthropology. Autonomous cultivation before domestication.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Antiquity
                Antiquity
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0003-598X
                1745-1744
                June 01 2007
                January 2 2015
                : 81
                : 312
                : 316-331
                10.1017/S0003598X0009520X
                © 2007

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