Missing domesticated plant forms: can artificial selection fill the gap?
Article first published online: 24 MAY 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Special Issue: Evolution in Agro-Ecosystems
Volume 3, Issue 5-6, pages 434–452, September 2010
How to Cite
Van Tassel, D. L., DeHaan, L. R. and Cox, T. S. (2010), Missing domesticated plant forms: can artificial selection fill the gap?. Evolutionary Applications, 3: 434–452. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2010.00132.x
- Issue published online: 27 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 24 MAY 2010
- Received: 2 April 2010 Accepted: 12 April 2010 First published online: 24 May 2010
- life form;
- new crops;
- perennial grains;
- reproductive effort
In the course of their evolution, the angiosperms have radiated into most known plant forms and life histories. Their adaptation to a recently created habitat, the crop field, produced a novel form: the plant that allocates an unprecedented 30–60% of its net productivity to sexual structures. Long-lived trees, shrubs and vines of this form evolved, as did annual herbs. Perennial herb forms with increased allocation to asexual reproduction evolved, but there are no examples of perennial herbs with high sexual effort. We suggest that sowing seed into annually tilled fields favored shorter-lived herbs because of trade-offs between first-year seed production and relative growth rate and/or persistence. By propagating cuttings, people quickly domesticated tuber crops and large woody plants. Perennial herbs were too small to be efficiently propagated by cuttings, and the association between longevity, allogamy and genetic load made rapid domestication by sexual cycles unlikely. Perennial grain crops do not exist because they could not have evolved under the original set of conditions; however, they can be deliberately developed today through artificial phenotypic and genotypic selection.