Blanc SVSE 7 - Blanc - SVSE 7 - Biodiversité, évolution, écologie et agronomie

Documenting African Crop Domestication – AfriCrop

Submission summary

The development of sedentary societies is tightly linked to the development of agriculture. Several scenarios about the time and speed of the settlement of agricultural societies in the different continents are still under debate. The study of the origin, domestication process and spread of different co-existing crops significantly improves our knowledge about how, when and where such societies developed.

In this proposal, we will address the study of the least studied domestication center: Africa. We will document the evolutionary history of four African crops: African rice, pearl millet, fonio and African yam. We plan to study the geographic origin, the spread dynamics and timing of their domestication. We will address long standing biological and social hypotheses about agriculture origin in order to cross-validate multidisciplinary scenarios of crop domestication in Africa.

We will use on innovative methods, large genetic marker datasets and new archeological and anthropological datasets. Analyses will make use of recently developed approximate Bayesian computation methods designed to study complex demographic models like the one found in crops histories. These original approaches offer new opportunities to incorporate geographical data and prior information such as archeological and anthropological data into the model. Archeological remains, human migrations and cultural differentiation of farmer communities can shed light on crop domestication processes, and inversely, the genetic diversity of contemporary crops can be used as social and historical markers in anthropology and archeology.

Project coordination

YVES VIGOUROUX (Diversity, Adaptation and Development of plants, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CIRAD - AGAP Genetic Improvement and Adaptation of Mediteranean and Tropical Plants, Centre International de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement
TIMC-IMAG Techniques de l'Ingénierie Médicale et de la Complexité
DIADE Diversity, Adaptation and Development of plants, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement

Help of the ANR 652,706 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: November 2013 - 48 Months

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