Brevia

How Fast Was Wild Wheat Domesticated?

Science  31 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5769, pp. 1886
DOI: 10.1126/science.1124635

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text
As a service to the community, AAAS/Science has made this article free with registration.

Abstract

Prehistoric cultivation of wild wheat in the Fertile Crescent led to the selection of mutants with indehiscent (nonshattering) ears, which evolved into modern domestic wheat. Previous estimates suggested that this transformation was rapid, but our analyses of archaeological plant remains demonstrate that indehiscent domesticates were slow to appear, emerging ~9500 years before the present, and that dehiscent (shattering) forms were still common in cultivated fields ~7500 years before the present. Slow domestication implies that after cultivation began, wild cereals may have remained unchanged for a long period, supporting claims that agriculture originated in the Near East ~10,500 years before the present.

View Full Text

Cited By...