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Domestication of Plants

  • By: Paul Gepts, Matthew B. Hufford & Kraig H. Kraft
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Domestication is the evolution and creation of a mutualistic, interdependent relationship between humans and wild plants (and animals). During the domestication process, wild plants become selected for and adapted to human cultivation, use, and consumption. Domesticated plants are an inherent part of agriculture, and their appearance, evolution, and dissemination throughout the world is closely intertwined with the origin, spread, and current dominance of agriculture. The study of the domestication process is therefore in large part also the study of the origin and evolution of agriculture. Major lines of inquiry are determining the actual locations of agricultural origins and their characteristics, the causes for the adoption of agriculture, the effects of selection on plants during domestication (leading to the so-called domestication syndrome), and the consequences of ...

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