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Summary

The aim of this paper is to survey the general area of quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, and its specific impact on current understanding of plant domestication. Plant domestication is not only of historical interest, but is also of ongoing importance as changing human needs and availability of nonrenewable resources impel continuing (and perhaps even accelerated) investigation of prospective new crops. New genomic tools applied in conjunction with now-established approaches such as QTL mapping are opening new doors into searches for the ‘footprints’ of domestication, and promise to accelerate and streamline the identification of specific genes integral to domestication(s), building on early successes. Better understanding of plant domestication promises to enhance knowledge about the developmental basis of some of the more striking evolutionary events known, to guide efforts to catalog plant biodiversity, and to accelerate progress in improving existing and new crops to sustain humanity.