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People, Plants and GenesThe Story of Crops and Humanity$
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Denis J Murphy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207145.001.0001

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Plant genomes

Plant genomes

Chapter:
(p.55) chapter 4 Plant genomes
Source:
People, Plants and Genes
Author(s):

Denis J. Murphy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207145.003.0004

This chapter looks at plant genomes, especially those unusual aspects of their organization that have enabled some species to adapt so successfully to cultivation by humans. Vavilov and others demonstrated that humans only ever domesticated a small range of crop species in a limited number of ‘centres of origin’. These crops often have large polyploid genomes and readily hybridize with other species to create new genetic combinations that can rapidly adapt to the new environments created by artificial cultivation. Genomic research shows that unlike the vast majority of animals, plants are able to duplicate their genomes and to hybridize across species to produce viable offspring with new genetic characteristics, such as domestication-related traits.

Keywords:   genome organization, Vavilov, centres of origin, polyploidy, hybridization, domestication

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