Understanding the evolutionary history of crop plants is fundamental to our understanding of their respective adaptation profiles, which in turn, is a key element in securing future yield and quality improvement. Central topics in this field concern the monoor polyphyletic origin of crop plants, and our ability to identify the geographic location where certain crop plants have originated. Understanding the geographical pattern of domestication may also assist in reconstructing the cultural processes underlying the Neolithic (agricultural) Revolution. Here we review prevailing views on the geographic pattern of Near Eastern plant domestication, and highlight the distinction between genetic domestication events and independent cultural events. A critical evaluation of the wealth of newly published geobotanical, genetic, and archaeological data provides strong support in favor of a specific core area in southeastern Turkey where most, if not all, founder Near Eastern crops were likely domesticated.
- Neolithic revolution
- Plant domestication