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Eastern North America as an Independent Center of Plant Domestication
Bruce D. Smith
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 103, No. 33 (Aug. 15, 2006), pp. 12223-12228
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30050545
Page Count: 6
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The status of eastern North America as an independent center of plant domestication has recently been called into question by a number of genetic and archaeological studies, which suggest that the region may not have witnessed the independent domestication of local crop plants, but rather may have been on the receiving end of domesticated crop plants introduced from Mexico. Here, I provide a synthesis of the currently available archaeological and genetic evidence from both eastern North America and Mexico regarding the spatial and temporal context of initial domestication of the four plant species identified as potential eastern North American domesticates: marshelder (Iva annua), chenopod (Chenopodium berlandieri), squash (Cucurbita pepo), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus). Genetic and archaeological evidence provides strong support for the independent domestication of all four of these plant species in the eastern United States and reconfirms the region as one of the world's independent centers of domestication.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 2006 National Academy of Sciences