Research

August 7, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Patton Co-Authors Article on ‘Lost Crops’ of North America’s Original Agriculture

Dr. Paul Patton

Dr. Paul Patton

Dr. Paul Patton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Food Studies at Ohio University, co-authored “Growing the lost crops of eastern North America’s original agricultural system” published in Nature Plants, July 2017.

Abstract: Thousands of years before the maize-based agriculture practiced by many Native American societies in eastern North America at the time of contact with Europeans, there existed a unique crop system only known through archaeological evidence. There are no written or oral records of how these lost crops were cultivated, but several domesticated subspecies have been identified in the archaeological record. Growth experiments and observations of living progenitors of these crops can provide insights into the ancient agricultural system of eastern North America, the role of developmental plasticity in the process of domestication, and the creation and maintenance of diverse landraces under cultivation. In addition, experimental gardens are potent tools for public education, and can also be used to conserve remaining populations of lost crop progenitors and explore the possibility of re-domesticating these species.

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