The Discovery of Wild Date Palms in Oman Reveals a Complex Domestication History Involving Centers in the Middle East and Africa

Muriel Gros-Balthazard, Marco Galimberti, Athanasios Kousathanas, Claire Newton, Sarah Ivorra, Laure Paradis, Yves Vigouroux, Robert Carter, Margareta Tengberg, Vincent Battesti, Sylvain Santoni, Laurent Falquet, Jean Christophe Pintaud, Jean Frédéric Terral, Daniel Wegmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

For many crops, wild relatives constitute an extraordinary resource for cultivar improvement [1, 2] and also help to better understand the history of their domestication [3]. However, the wild ancestor species of several perennial crops have not yet been identified. Perennial crops generally present a weak domestication syndrome allowing cultivated individuals to establish feral populations difficult to distinguish from truly wild populations, and there is frequently ongoing gene flow between wild relatives and the crop that might erode most genetic differences [4]. Here we report the discovery of populations of the wild ancestor species of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.), one of the oldest and most important cultivated fruit plants in hot and arid regions of the Old World. We discovered these wild individuals in remote and isolated mountainous locations of Oman. They are genetically more diverse than and distinct from a representative sample of Middle Eastern cultivated date palms and exhibit rounded seed shapes resembling those of a close sister species and archeological samples, but not modern cultivars. Whole-genome sequencing of several wild and cultivated individuals revealed a complex domestication history involving the contribution of at least two wild sources to African cultivated date palms. The discovery of wild date palms offers a unique chance to further elucidate the history of this iconic crop that has constituted the cornerstone of traditional oasis polyculture systems for several thousand years [5].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2211-2218.e8
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume27
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 24 2017

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Oman
Eastern Africa
Phoenix dactylifera
Middle East
domestication
Crops
history
wild relatives
crops
ancestry
Genes
History
Population
Arid regions
Gene Flow
oases
cropping sequence
cultivars
Fruits
arid zones

Keywords

  • crop domestication
  • date palm
  • demographic inference
  • genome annotation
  • microsatellites
  • Phoenix atlantica
  • Phoenix dactylifera
  • Phoenix sylvestris
  • seed morphometrics
  • whole-genome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

The Discovery of Wild Date Palms in Oman Reveals a Complex Domestication History Involving Centers in the Middle East and Africa. / Gros-Balthazard, Muriel; Galimberti, Marco; Kousathanas, Athanasios; Newton, Claire; Ivorra, Sarah; Paradis, Laure; Vigouroux, Yves; Carter, Robert; Tengberg, Margareta; Battesti, Vincent; Santoni, Sylvain; Falquet, Laurent; Pintaud, Jean Christophe; Terral, Jean Frédéric; Wegmann, Daniel.

In: Current Biology, Vol. 27, No. 14, 24.07.2017, p. 2211-2218.e8.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gros-Balthazard, M, Galimberti, M, Kousathanas, A, Newton, C, Ivorra, S, Paradis, L, Vigouroux, Y, Carter, R, Tengberg, M, Battesti, V, Santoni, S, Falquet, L, Pintaud, JC, Terral, JF & Wegmann, D 2017, 'The Discovery of Wild Date Palms in Oman Reveals a Complex Domestication History Involving Centers in the Middle East and Africa', Current Biology, vol. 27, no. 14, pp. 2211-2218.e8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.045
Gros-Balthazard, Muriel ; Galimberti, Marco ; Kousathanas, Athanasios ; Newton, Claire ; Ivorra, Sarah ; Paradis, Laure ; Vigouroux, Yves ; Carter, Robert ; Tengberg, Margareta ; Battesti, Vincent ; Santoni, Sylvain ; Falquet, Laurent ; Pintaud, Jean Christophe ; Terral, Jean Frédéric ; Wegmann, Daniel. / The Discovery of Wild Date Palms in Oman Reveals a Complex Domestication History Involving Centers in the Middle East and Africa. In: Current Biology. 2017 ; Vol. 27, No. 14. pp. 2211-2218.e8.
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