Demographic expansion and (or) migrations leave their mark in the pattern of DNA polymorphisms of the respective populations. Likewise, the spread of cultural phenomena can be traced by dating archaeological finds and reconstructing their direction and pace. A similar course of events is likely to have taken place following the "Big Bang" of the agricultural spread in the Neolithic Near East from its core area in southeastern Turkey. Thus far, no attempts have been made to track the movement of the founder genetic stocks of the first crop plants from their core area based on the genetic structure of living plants. In this minireview, we re-interpret recent wheat DNA polymorphism data to detect the genetic ripples left by the early wave of advance of Neolithic wheat farming from its core area. This methodology may help to suggest a model charting the spread of the first farming phase prior to the emergence of truly domesticated wheat types (and other such crops), thereby increasing our resolution power in studying this revolutionary period of human cultural, demographic, and social evolution.
- Early wave of advance of Neolithic farming
- Genetic ripples
- Neolithic revolution
- Origin of Near Eastern agriculture