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In relation to the origin and spread of grasses, domestication is a recent event confined to about the last ten thousand years and to relatively few grasses.
Part I of Grass Evolution and Domestication considers, from an evolutionary point of view, grass taxonomy, the origin and diversification of C4 photosynthesis, S-Z self-incompatibility and apomixis. It also includes a discussion of how the grass inflorescence and the spikelet could have originated. In Part II the origins of domestication are explored, both for cereals and for grasses which have latterly come to have either amenity or ecological significance.
For the major cereals, domestication now involves not only classical plant breeding but also the application of molecular techniques to obtain new varieties with desirable characteristics. The world's three most important cereals, wheat, maize and rice, are therefore presented as model systems in an attempt to explore the interaction of plant breeding, cytogenetics and molecular biology.
Previously published in 1992.