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Diversity 2010, 2(1), 72-106;

Origin and Domestication of Native Amazonian Crops

Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia—INPA, Av. André Araújo, 2936, Aleixo, 69060-001 Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement—CIRAD, UMR 5175 CEFE, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, France
Laboratório de Evolução Aplicada, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Av. Gal. Rodrigo Otávio Jordão Ramos, 3000, 69077-000 Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 November 2009 / Accepted: 31 December 2009 / Published: 6 January 2010
PDF [678 KB, uploaded 6 January 2010]


Molecular analyses are providing new elements to decipher the origin, domestication and dispersal of native Amazonian crops in an expanding archaeological context. Solid molecular data are available for manioc (Manihot esculenta), cacao (Theobroma cacao), pineapple (Ananas comosus), peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) and guaraná (Paullinia cupana), while hot peppers (Capsicum spp.), inga (Inga edulis), Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) and cupuassu (Theobroma grandiflorum) are being studied. Emergent patterns include the relationships among domestication, antiquity (terminal Pleistocene to early Holocene), origin in the periphery, ample pre-Columbian dispersal and clear phylogeographic population structure for manioc, pineapple, peach palm and, perhaps, Capsicum peppers. Cacao represents the special case of an Amazonian species possibly brought into domestication in Mesoamerica, but close scrutiny of molecular data suggests that it may also have some incipiently domesticated populations in Amazonia. Another pattern includes the relationships among species with incipiently domesticated populations or very recently domesticated populations, rapid pre- or post-conquest dispersal and lack of phylogeographic population structure, e.g., Brazil nut, cupuassu and guaraná. These patterns contrast the peripheral origin of most species with domesticated populations with the subsequent concentration of their genetic resources in the center of the basin, along the major white water rivers where high pre-conquest population densities developed. Additional molecular genetic analyses on these and other species will allow better examination of these processes and will enable us to relate them to other historical ecological patterns in Amazonia. View Full-Text
Keywords: molecular markers; genetic analysis; phylogeography; phylogenetics; crop dispersal molecular markers; genetic analysis; phylogeography; phylogenetics; crop dispersal

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Clement, C.R.; De Cristo-Araújo, M.; Coppens D’Eeckenbrugge, G.; Alves Pereira, A.; Picanço-Rodrigues, D. Origin and Domestication of Native Amazonian Crops. Diversity 2010, 2, 72-106.

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