Plant Breeding Centers

Plant Breeding Centers

Centers of origin of cultivated plants and domestic animals

Obviously, cultivated plants appeared in nature not by themselves, but with the participation of man on the basis of some wild forms. In favor of this is the fact that cultivated plants often have properties that are beneficial to humans, but not at all beneficial to the plants themselves in the wild. Such a quality, for example, is the inability to shed seeds in many cultivated cereals. Many qualities of cultivated plants are clearly hypertrophied – for example, the flesh of fruits of garden plants is too thick – and unnecessary for existence in the wild. As a result, many (although not all) agricultural plants die or are quickly replaced by other species in their natural habitats.

In addition, crops are not necessarily grown in the same places where they were originally domesticated. According to current estimates, approximately 70% of cultivated crops that provide food to the local population are grown outside their original homeland.

How did the wild ancestors of cultivated plants be tamed? Were such centers of origin of cultivated plants focused in narrow zones, or did their domestication take place over a wide area? If the zones of origin of cultivated plants were geographically limited, did there exist many narrow-localized foci independent for each individual plant, or could they unite whole complexes of potential domesticated species? Well, a particularly intriguing question is whether the botanical advantages of certain localities could give some advantage to local societies, stimulating their social development? Could they, for example, have contributed to such phenomena as the Neolithic revolution described by Gordon Child? It is absolutely possible that this process and similar processes in other regions of the world began to spread just from places that were more fortunate than others with potential domestics in the local flora.

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