The Domestication of Crop Plants

S. Abbo*, A. Gopher, S. Lev-Yadun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Food production economies based on domesticated plants and livestock is a relatively recent phenomenon in the human career. Packages of nutritionally and agronomically balanced crop plants evolved independently in several world regions including sub-Saharan Africa, Meso-America, North-east America, East Asia, and the Near East. The longest research tradition on the origins of agriculture concerning the Near East on which we elaborate. Geobotanical and ecological evidence on the wild progenitors in conjunction with archaeological and archaeobotanical data of the Near Eastern crop package species enable the reconstruction of this major event in the prehistory of humankind. The accumulated evidence from the Near East suggests a geographically focused/centered, and knowledge-based domestication of a suite of cereals and grain legume crops. Genetic and agronomic considerations enable to draw a distinction between the crucial traits underlying the domestication episode and traits that were selected for by farmers during the millennia following (under) domestication. This distinction is valuable for both reconstructing prehistoric events and for future crop improvement.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCrop Systems
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123948083
ISBN (Print)9780123948076
StatePublished - 27 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Crop evolution
  • Domestication syndrome
  • Origin of agriculture
  • Plant domestication


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