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Darwin's Harvest: New Approaches to the Origins, Evolution, and Conservation of Crops

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Overview

Darwin's Harvest addresses concerns that we are losing the diversity of crop plants that provide food for most of the world. With contributions from evolutionary biologists, geneticists, agronomists, molecular biologists, and anthropologists, this collection discusses how economic development, loss of heirloom varieties and wild ancestors, and modern agricultural techniques have endangered the genetic diversity needed to keep agricultural crops vital and capable of adaptation.

Drawing on the most up-to-date data, the contributors review the utilization of molecular techniques to understand crop evolution. They explore current research on various crop plants of both temperate and tropical origin, including maize, sunflower, avocado, sugarcane, and wheat. The chapters in Darwin's Harvest also provide solid background for understanding many recent discoveries concerning the origins of crops and the influence of human migration and farming practices on the genetics of our modern foods.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Economic Botany - Charles R. Clement
A fascinating collection of cutting-edge analyses.
Economic Botany
A fascinating collection of cutting-edge analyses.

— Charles R. Clement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231133166
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy J. Motley is associate professor in the Collum Program for Molecular Systematics at The New York Botanical Garden.

Nyree Zerega is the director of the Plant Biology and Conservation Program at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Hugh Cross is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Herbarium of theNetherlands, Leiden University.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Crop plants : past, present, and future 1
2 Molecular evidence and the evolutionary history of the domesticated sunflower 31
3 Molecular evidence of sugarcane evolution and domestication 49
4 Maize origins, domestication, and selection 67
5 Contributions of Tripsacum to maize diversity 91
6 Evolution of genetic diversity in Phaseolus vulgaris L. 121
7 Cladistic biogeography of Juglans (Juglandaceae) based on chloroplast DNA intergenic spacer sequences 143
8 Origin and diversification of chayote 171
9 Using modern landraces of wheat to study the origins of European agriculture 197
10 Breadfruit origins, diversity, and human-facilitated distribution 213
11 Genetic relationship between dioscorea alata L. and D. nummularia lum. as revealed by AFLP markers 239
12 Evolution, domestication, and agrobiodiversity in the tropical crop cassava 269
13 Origins, evolution, and group classification of cultivated potatoes 285
14 Evolution and conservation of clonally propagated crops : insights form AFLP data and folk taxonomy of the Andean tuber oca (Oxalis tuberosa) 308
15 Crop genetics on modern farms : gene flow between crop populations 333
App. I Molecular marker and sequencing methods and related terms 347
App. II Molecular analyses 370
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