Special Issue "Histories of Crops, between Niche Construction, Domestication and Diversification"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Breeding and Genetics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Valentina Caracuta
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Evolution Sciences of Montpellier (ISEM),University of Montpellier
Interests: agriculture; archaeobotany; palaeoclimate; prehistory isotopes
Prof. Dr. Roberto Papa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali—D3A, Università Politecnica delle Marche, 60131 Ancona, Italy
Interests: plant breeding; evolutionary genetics; genomics; domestication and crop evolution; agrobiodiversity and plant genetic resources conservation; adaptation; food legumes; cereal
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Ferran Antolin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Interests: agriculture; prehistoric archaeology; archaeological theory; human activities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last twelve thousand years, more than two thousand plant species have been domesticated worldwide. Domestication was driven by a multitude of environmental, climatic, and cultural factors, which ultimately led plants to thrive in human-made niches while losing the ability to propagate in natural settings. The study of major crops thus far has enabled the identification of 11 different regions where plants were independently domesticated, but studies on the domestication process of most crops are unconcluded and uncertainties persist on their original area of distribution and their patterns of diversification. The increasing corpus of agronomic, genomic, archaeobotanical, and ethnographic data can provide crucial information on these issues, and overall advance our understanding of domestication processes on a global scale.

With this Special Issue of Agronomy, we seek integrative studies that shed light on the origin and diversification of understudied crops, as well as reviews that offer original perspectives on the domestication of major crops. Furthermore, we encourage contributions that investigate the cultural, social, and linguistic background of domestication to create a comprehensive history of the origin and early development of agriculture.

Dr. Valentina Caracuta
Prof. Dr. Roberto Papa
Prof. Dr. Ferran Antolin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • staple crops
  • domestication
  • diversification
  • niche construction
  • agronomy
  • plant science
  • archaeobotany
  • ethnography
  • ethnobotany
  • paleolinguistic

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Dry or Wet? Evaluating the Initial Rice Cultivation Environment on the Korean Peninsula
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050929 - 08 May 2021
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Abstract
The origins and development of rice cultivation are one of the most important aspects in studying agricultural and socio-economic innovations, as well as environmental change, in East Asian prehistory. In particular, whether wet or dry rice cultivation was conducted is an important consideration [...] Read more.
The origins and development of rice cultivation are one of the most important aspects in studying agricultural and socio-economic innovations, as well as environmental change, in East Asian prehistory. In particular, whether wet or dry rice cultivation was conducted is an important consideration of its impact on societies and the environment across different periods and places. In this study, carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of charred crop remains from archaeological sites dating from the Early Bronze Age (ca. 1.1 k BC) to the Proto-Three Kingdoms (ca. 0.4 k AD) was conducted to clarify: (1) if there were any shifts from dry to wet cultivation around 1500 years after rice adoption as previously hypothesized and (2) the difference in stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values between rice and dry fields crops excavated from the same archaeological context to understand the cultivation environment. The result show that stable isotope values of charred rice grains have not changed significantly for around 1500 years. Moreover, rice possessed higher nitrogen stable isotope values than dry crops across all periods. While other potential factors could have influenced the 15N-enrichment of soils and crops, the most reasonable explanation is bacteriologic denitrification in anaerobic paddy soil where the rice was grown. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Emergence of Arboriculture in the 1st Millennium BC along the Mediterranean’s “Far West”
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050902 - 04 May 2021
Viewed by 273
Abstract
This paper presents the history of the introduction and expansion of arboriculture during the 1st millennium BC from the South of the Iberian Peninsula to the South of France. The earliest evidence of arboriculture at the beginning of the 1st millennium hails from [...] Read more.
This paper presents the history of the introduction and expansion of arboriculture during the 1st millennium BC from the South of the Iberian Peninsula to the South of France. The earliest evidence of arboriculture at the beginning of the 1st millennium hails from the south of the Iberia from where it spread northward along the peninsula’s eastern edge. The different fruits (grape, olive, fig, almond, pomegranate and apple/pear) arrived together in certain areas in spite of uneven distribution and acceptance by local communities. Grape was the crop with the greatest diffusion. The greater diversity of crops in the southern half of the peninsula is also noteworthy. Their development paved the way for a commercial agricultural model in some territories where fruits and their derivatives, such as wine and oil, played vital roles. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective
Is Domestication Speciation? The Implications of a Messy Domestication Model in the Holocene
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 784; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040784 - 16 Apr 2021
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Abstract
Domestication is one of the fundamental process that has shaped our world in the last 12,000 years. Changes in the morphology, genetics, and behavior of plants and animals have redefined our interactions with our environments and ourselves. However, while great strides have been [...] Read more.
Domestication is one of the fundamental process that has shaped our world in the last 12,000 years. Changes in the morphology, genetics, and behavior of plants and animals have redefined our interactions with our environments and ourselves. However, while great strides have been made towards understanding the mechanics, timing, and localities of domestication, a fundamental question remains at the heart of archaeological and scientific modelling of this process—how does domestication fit into a framework of evolution and natural selection? At the core of this is the ontological problem of what is a species? In this paper, the complicated concepts and constructs underlying ‘species’ and how this can be applied to the process of domestication are explored. The case studies of soybean and proto-indica rice are used to illustrate that our choice of ‘species’ definitions carries with it ramifications for our interpretations, and that care needs to be made when handling this challenging classificatory system. Full article
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