Earliest domestication of common millet (Panicum miliaceum) in East Asia extended to 10,000 years ago.
ABSTRACT: The origin of millet from Neolithic China has generally been accepted, but it remains unknown whether common millet (Panicum miliaceum) or foxtail millet (Setaria italica) was the first species domesticated. Nor do we know the timing of their domestication and their routes of dispersal. Here, we report the discovery of husk phytoliths and biomolecular components identifiable solely as common millet from newly excavated storage pits at the Neolithic Cishan site, China, dated to between ca. 10,300 and ca. 8,700 calibrated years before present (cal yr BP). After ca. 8,700 cal yr BP, the grain crops began to contain a small quantity of foxtail millet. Our research reveals that the common millet was the earliest dry farming crop in East Asia, which is probably attributed to its excellent resistance to drought.
Project description:We have collated and reviewed published records of the genera Panicum and Setaria (Poaceae), including the domesticated millets Panicum miliaceum L. (broomcorn millet) and Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. (foxtail millet) in pre-5000 cal b.c. sites across the Old World. Details of these sites, which span China, central-eastern Europe including the Caucasus, Iran, Syria and Egypt, are presented with associated calibrated radiocarbon dates. Forty-one sites have records of Panicum (P. miliaceum, P. cf. miliaceum, Panicum sp., Panicum type, P. capillare (?) and P. turgidum) and 33 of Setaria (S. italica, S. viridis, S. viridis/verticillata, Setaria sp., Setaria type). We identify problems of taphonomy, identification criteria and reporting, and inference of domesticated/wild and crop/weed status of finds. Both broomcorn and foxtail millet occur in northern China prior to 5000 cal b.c.; P. miliaceum occurs contemporaneously in Europe, but its significance is unclear. Further work is needed to resolve the above issues before the status of these taxa in this period can be fully evaluated. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00334-008-0187-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Project description:Research in to the nature of Neolithic agriculture in China is often focused on topics such as the domestication and spread of cereal crops and the reconstruction of human and animal diets in the past. Field management practices, such as organic manuring, have not been systematically investigated in Chinese archaeology. Here we present an isotopic dataset for archaeological foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and common millet (Panicum miliaceum) grains as well as associated faunal remains (both domesticated and wild) from seven sites in the Baishui Valley of north China, in order to find direct evidence of organic manuring during the Late Neolithic period. The elevated nitrogen isotope values of the millet grains (5500-3500?cal BP) in comparison with the estimated local vegetation indicates that millets were organically manured by animal dung, mostly likely originating from domestic pigs. Considering the low nitrogen contents of loess soils and their unsuitability for intensive cultivation, this organic manuring by animal dung would have played a key role in maintaining soil productivity and crop yield, which was necessary to support the demands of agriculture and cultural expansion during the Late Neolithic on the Loess Plateau of China.
Project description:An assemblage of charred plant remains collected from 26 sites in the Yiluo valley of North China as part of an archaeological survey spans the period from the sixth millennium to 1300 calibrated calendrical years (cal) B.C. The plant remains document a long sequence of crops, weeds, and other plants in the country. The results also demonstrate the effectiveness of sediment sampling as part of an archaeological survey. Ten accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) radiocarbon dates on crop remains inform an assessment of the sequence of agricultural development in the region. Foxtail millet (Setaria italica subsp. italica) was grown during the Early Neolithic period and was the principal crop for at least four millennia. Broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) was significantly less important throughout the sequence. Rice (Oryza sativa) was introduced by 3000 cal B.C. but apparently was not an important local crop. Wheat became a significant crop between 1600 and 1300 cal B.C. The weed flora diversified through time and were dominated by annual grasses, some of which were probably fodder for domesticated animals. The North China farming tradition that emphasized dry crops (millets, wheat, and legumes) with some rice appears to have been established at the latest by the Early Shang (Erligang; 1600-1300 B.C.) period.
Project description:Broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) is one of the world's oldest cultivated cereals, with several lines of recent evidence indicating that it was grown in northern China from at least 10,000 cal bp. Additionally, a cluster of archaeobotanical records of P. miliaceum dated to at least 7000 cal bp exists in eastern Europe. These two centres of early records could either represent independent domestications or cross-continental movement of this cereal that would predate that of any other crop by some 2 millennia. Here, we analysed genetic diversity among 98 landrace accessions from across Eurasia using 16 microsatellite loci, to explore phylogeographic structure in the Old World range of this historically important crop. The major genetic split in the data divided the accessions into an eastern and a western grouping with an approximate boundary in northwestern China. A substantial number of accessions belonging to the 'western' genetic group were also found in northeastern China. Further resolution subdivided the western and eastern genepools into 2 and 4 clusters respectively, each showing clear geographic patterning. The genetic data are consistent with both the single and multiple domestication centre hypotheses and add specific detail to what these hypotheses would entail regarding the spread of broomcorn millet. Discrepancies exist between the predictions from the genetic data and the current archaeobotanical record, highlighting priorities for investigation into early farming in Central Asia.
Project description:Broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) has strong tolerance to abiotic stresses, and is probably one of the oldest crops, with its earliest cultivation that dated back to ca. ~10,000 years. We report here its genome assembly through a combination of PacBio sequencing, BioNano, and Hi-C (in vivo) mapping. The 18 super scaffolds cover ~95.6% of the estimated genome (~887.8?Mb). There are 63,671 protein-coding genes annotated in this tetraploid genome. About ~86.2% of the syntenic genes in foxtail millet have two homologous copies in broomcorn millet, indicating rare gene loss after tetraploidization in broomcorn millet. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that broomcorn millet and foxtail millet diverged around ~13.1 Million years ago (Mya), while the lineage specific tetraploidization of broomcorn millet may be happened within ~5.91 million years. The genome is not only beneficial for the genome assisted breeding of broomcorn millet, but also an important resource for other Panicum species.
Project description:Broomcorn millet (<i>Panicum miliaceum</i> L.) is one of the oldest domesticated crops and has been grown in arid and semiarid areas in China since 10,000 cal. BP. However, limited information is available about how bacterial communities within the rhizosphere of different broomcorn millet cultivars respond to drought stress. Here, we characterized the changes in the rhizobacterial assemblages of two broomcorn millet cultivars, namely, <i>P. miliaceum</i> cv. <i>HeQu Red</i> (HQR) and <i>P. miliaceum YanLi 10</i> (YL10), from the jointing stage to the grain filling stage after they were exposed to a short-term drought stress treatment at the seedling stage. Drought significantly inhibited the growth of both cultivars, but the effect on YL10 was higher than that on HQR, indicating that the drought tolerance of HQR was greater than that of YL10. <i>Proteobacteria</i> (33.8%), <i>Actinobacteria</i> (21.0%), <i>Acidobacteria</i> (10.7%), <i>Bacteroidetes</i> (8.2%), <i>Chloroflexi</i> (6.3%), <i>Gemmatimonadetes</i> (5.9%), <i>Firmicutes</i> (3.5%), <i>Verrucomicrobia</i> (2.9%), and <i>Planctomycetes</i> (2.7%) were the core bacterial components of broomcorn millet rhizosphere as suggested by 16S rDNA sequencing results. The diversity and composition of bacterial rhizosphere communities substantially varied at different developmental stages of broomcorn millet. As the plants matured, the richness and evenness of the rhizobacterial community significantly decreased. Principal coordinate analysis showed that the structure of the bacterial rhizosphere community changed notably only at the flowering stage between the two cultivars, suggesting a stage-dependent effect. Although drought stress had no significant effect on the diversity and structure of the bacterial rhizosphere community between the two cultivars, differential responses to drought was found in Actinobacteria and <i>Acinetobacter</i>, <i>Lysobacter</i>, <i>Streptomyces</i>, and <i>Cellvibrio</i>. The relative abundance of Actinobacteria and <i>Lysobacter</i>, <i>Streptomyces</i>, and <i>Cellvibrio</i> in the YL10 rhizosphere was stimulated by the drought treatment compared with that in the HQR rhizosphere, whereas the opposite effect was found in <i>Acinetobacter</i>. Our results suggested that the effects of cultivars on bacterial rhizosphere communities were highly dependent on plant developmental stage, reflecting the genetic variations in the two broomcorn millet cultivars.
Project description:It is generally understood that foxtail millet and broomcorn millet were initially domesticated in Northern China where they eventually became the dominant plant food crops. The rarity of older archaeological sites and archaeobotanical work in the region, however, renders both the origins of these plants and their processes of domestication poorly understood. Here we present ancient starch grain assemblages recovered from cultural deposits, including carbonized residues adhering to an early pottery sherd as well as grinding stone tools excavated from the sites of Nanzhuangtou (11.5-11.0 cal kyBP) and Donghulin (11.0-9.5 cal kyBP) in the North China Plain. Our data extend the record of millet use in China by nearly 1,000 y, and the record of foxtail millet in the region by at least two millennia. The patterning of starch residues within the samples allow for the formulation of the hypothesis that foxtail millets were cultivated for an extended period of two millennia, during which this crop plant appears to have been undergoing domestication. Future research in the region will help clarify the processes in place.
Project description:Panicum miliaceum (broomcorn millet) is a tetraploid cereal, which was among the first domesticated crops, but is now a minor crop despite its high water use efficiency. The ancestors of this species have not been determined; we aimed to identify likely candidates within the genus, where phylogenies are poorly resolved. Nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences from P. miliaceum and a range of diploid and tetraploid relatives were used to develop phylogenies of the diploid and tetraploid species. Chromosomal in situ hybridization with genomic DNA as a probe was used to characterize the genomes in the tetraploid P. miliaceum and a tetraploid accession of P. repens. In situ hybridization showed that half the chromosomes of P. miliaceum hybridized more strongly with labelled genomic DNA from P. capillare, and half with labelled DNA from P. repens. Genomic DNA probes differentiated two sets of 18 chromosomes in the tetraploid P. repens. Our phylogenetic data support the allotetraploid origin of P. miliaceum, with the maternal ancestor being P. capillare (or a close relative) and the other genome being shared with P. repens. Our P. repens accession was also an allotetraploid with two dissimilar but closely related genomes, the maternal genome being similar to P. sumatrense. Further collection of Panicum species, particularly from the Old World, is required. It is important to identify why the water-efficient P. miliaceum is now of minimal importance in agriculture, and it may be valuable to exploit the diversity in this species and its ancestors.
Project description:Foxtail millet (Setaria italica (L.) Beauv) is one of the earliest domesticated grains, which has been cultivated in northern China by 8,700 years before present (YBP) and across Eurasia by 4,000 YBP. Owing to a small genome and diploid nature, foxtail millet is a tractable model crop for studying functional genomics of millets and bioenergy grasses. In this study, we examined nucleotide sequence diversity, geographic structure, and levels of linkage disequilibrium at four nuclear loci (ADH1, G3PDH, IGS1 and TPI1) in representative samples of 311 landrace accessions across its cultivated range. Higher levels of nucleotide sequence and haplotype diversity were observed in samples from China relative to other sampled regions. Genetic assignment analysis classified the accessions into seven clusters based on nucleotide sequence polymorphisms. Intralocus LD decayed rapidly to half the initial value within ~1.2 kb or less.
Project description:In China, pottery containers first appeared about 20000 cal. BP, and became diverse in form during the Early Neolithic (9000-7000 cal. BP), signaling the emergence of functionally specialized vessels. China is also well-known for its early development of alcohol production. However, few studies have focused on the connections between the two technologies. Based on the analysis of residues (starch, phytolith, and fungus) adhering to pottery from two Early Neolithic sites in north China, here we demonstrate that three material changes occurring in the Early Neolithic signal innovation of specialized alcoholic making known in north China: (i) the spread of cereal domestication (millet and rice), (ii) the emergence of dedicated pottery types, particularly globular jars as liquid storage vessels, and (iii) the development of cereal-based alcohol production with at least two fermentation methods: the use of cereal malts and the use of moldy grain and herbs (qu and caoqu) as starters. The latter method was arguably a unique invention initiated in China, and our findings account for the earliest known examples of this technique. The major ingredients include broomcorn millet, Triticeae grasses, Job's tears, rice, beans, snake gourd root, ginger, possible yam and lily, and other plants, some probably with medicinal properties (e.g., ginger). Alcoholic beverages made with these methods were named li, jiu, and chang in ancient texts, first recorded in the Shang oracle-bone inscriptions (ca. 3200 cal. BP); our findings have revealed a much deeper history of these diverse fermentation technologies in China.