Publication on amaranth domestication


Markus Stetter (UoC) published a paper about how genetic incompatibilities and evolutionary rescue by wild relatives shaped amaranth domestication.

This study shows that the story of how we turned wild plants into crops is like a puzzle with many pieces coming together. Wild plants and crops shared genes, helping the crops, but sometimes sharing genes caused problems. In the study of grain amaranth, we found that the three grain amaranth crop species exchanged genes among each other and with their wild relatives. The exchange with wild relatives reduced harmful gene combinations in the crops, which potentially rescued them from extinction. However, some of the cousins among the crops had trouble mixing genes, creating challenges in their relationships and hindering future interbreeding. The work shows that the history of our food isn't as simple as we once thought!

Read publication