Skip to comments.Ancient Egyptian Cotton Unveils Secrets of Domesticated Crop Evolution
Posted on 04/07/2012 8:24:26 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Scientists studying 1,600-year-old cotton from the banks of the Nile have found what they believe is the first evidence that punctuated evolution has occurred in a major crop group within the relatively short history of plant domestication.
The findings offer an insight into the dynamics of agriculture in the ancient world and could also help today's domestic crops face challenges such as climate change and water scarcity.
The researchers, led by Dr Robin Allaby from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, examined the remains of ancient cotton at Qasr Ibrim in Egypt's Upper Nile using high throughput sequencing technologies.
This is the first time such technology has been used on ancient plants and also the first time the technique has been applied to archaeological samples in such hot countries.
The site is located about 40 km from Abu Simbel and 70 km from the modern Sudanese border on the east bank of what is now Lake Nasser.
They also studied South American samples from sites in Peru and Brazil aged between 800 and nearly 4,000 years old.
The results showed that even over the relatively short timescale of a millennia and a half, the Egyptian cotton, identified as G. herbaceum, showed evidence of significant genomic reorganisation when the ancient and the modern variety were compared.
However closely-related G.Barbadense from the sites in South America showed genomic stability between the two samples, even though these were separated by more than 2,000 miles in distance and 3,000 years in time.
This divergent picture points towards punctuated evolution -- long periods of evolutionary stability interspersed by bursts of rapid change -- having occurred in the cotton family.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
You haven’t been participating in discussion, all you’ve been doing is a troll-jacking of the topic with a bunch of incoherent nonsense. That is what you trolls do.
Ignoring the contribution of artificial selection by intelligent humans is what is nonsense.
Nope, the observed rapid changes in a heavily domesticated commercially cultivated plant was absolutely caused by natural and mystical forces of nature. People had nothing to do with it, not even in the heavily farmed and repeatedly civilized Nile valley, where astonishingly, the greatest change is evident.
Great comments and I’m more likely to accept your premise that government bureaucrats have always been the merit-less political appointees willing to write/believe whatever their master wanted.
I agree punctuated evolution is a political term, which set off a warning when I read the article. It has always seemed to me punk-eek was more of a description of what we see in the fossil record than a theory of how the change happened.
Punctuated equilibria has one virtue, which is that it is derived from the fossil record, unlike the conventional Darwinian approach, which is to claim that the intermediate forms — the ones which “should” be found at what are clearly stark paleontological boundaries — either didn’t get fossilized for reasons not understood, or were once there but, everywhere they were once found, were eroded away for reasons not understood.
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