People, Plants and Genes: The Story of Crops and Humanity

Paperback | August 19, 2007

byDenis J Murphy

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This book provides a comprehensive overview of the complex story of human-plant interactions, from the hunter-gatherers of the Palaeolithic Era, through to the 21st century and the molecular genetic manipulation of crops. It links the latest advances in molecular genetics with the science andhistory of plant domestication, the evolution of plant breeding, and the implications of this new knowledge for both the agriculture of today and the future.Modern societies still rely on plants for most of their food needs, not to mention clothing, shelter, medicines and tools. This special relationship has tied together people and their plants in mutual dependence for over 50,000 years. Yet despite these millennia of intimate contact, people have onlygone on to domesticate and cultivate a few dozen of the tens of thousands of edible plants available. Thanks to the latest genomic studies, we can now begin to explain how, when, and where some of the most important crops came to be domesticated, and the crucial role of plant genetics and climaticchange in these processes. Indeed, it was their unique genetic organisations that ultimately determined which plants eventually became crops, rather than any conscious decisions by their human cultivators.The book is primarily aimed at geneticists, molecular biologists, biotechnologists, and plant breeders who require a detailed and up-to-date account of modern crop genetics and genomic research and its wider significance for agriculture. However, the accessible style will appeal to a widerreadership of agronomists, archaeologists, and even historians, who wish to explore the many interactions that have shaped the often crucial relationships between plants and human societies.

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This book provides a comprehensive overview of the complex story of human-plant interactions, from the hunter-gatherers of the Palaeolithic Era, through to the 21st century and the molecular genetic manipulation of crops. It links the latest advances in molecular genetics with the science andhistory of plant domestication, the evolutio...

Denis J Murphy is Professor of Biotechnology and Head of the Biotechnology Unit at the University of Glamorgan in Wales, UK, and also works as a government advisor in the areas of agriculture and biotechnology in the UK and overseas. He has broad interests in research and education, including running a schools outreach programme, and ...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 9.69 × 7.44 × 0.87 inPublished:August 19, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199207143

ISBN - 13:9780199207145

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Table of Contents

People and Plants: two hundred millennia of coevolution1. Early human societies and their plants2. Plant management and agriculture3. How some people became farmersCrops and their Genetics: 90 million years of evolution4. Plant genomes5. Fluid genomes, uncertain species, and the genetics of crop domestication6. The domestication of cereal crops7. The domestication of non-cereal cropsPeople, Plants, and Farming in Prehistoric Times: ten millennia of climatic and social change8. People and the emergence of crops9. Agriculture: a mixed blessing10. Evolution of agro-urban cultures I: the Near East11. Evolution of agro-urban cultures II: East and South Asia12. Evolution of agro-urban cultures III: Africa, Europe and the AmericasPeople and Plants in Historic Times: globalisation of agriculture and the rise of science13. Crop management in the Classical and Medieval Periods14. Agricultural improvement and the rise of crop breeding15. Imperial Botany and the early scientific breeders16. Agricultural Improvement in modern times17. The future of agriculture and humanity