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Crop Plants: Evolution

  1. Allison J Miller

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0003360



How to Cite

Miller, A. J. 2007. Crop Plants: Evolution. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

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All crop plants originated from wild plant populations. The domestication of plant populations occurs over several generations as a small subset of wild individuals are selected and transferred into cultivated habitats, where they undergo intensive artificial selection for various traits deemed desirable by humans. Over time, artificial selection and genetic bottlenecks result in crops that are morphologically and genetically distinct from their wild ancestors. The evolution of crop plants and the development of agricultural societies dependent upon them is associated with profound changes in human populations, including increased population sizes, the development of complex societies and technologies and dramatic environmental changes. The evolution of crop plants has been called one of the most significant developments of the last 14 000 years.


  • crop;
  • cultivation;
  • domestication;
  • evolution