Crop Biotech Update

Study Shows Rice First Cultivated in China 10,000 Years Ago

June 14, 2017
Rice, one of the vital staple for many countries, was first domesticated in China about 10,000 years ago. This is according to the study conducted by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and published in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers recovered rice remains from the Shangshan site in the Lower Yangtze in China. The remains were recognized as the earliest examples of rice cultivation. They developed a new process to isolate rice phytoliths from clays and carbonate, and dated the samples through radiocarbon dating. The results showed that the remains are approximately 9,400 years old. Furthermore, they found that approximately 36 percent of rice phytoliths at Shangshan had more than nine fish-scale decorations, less than the approximately 67 percent counted from modern domesticated rice, but larger than the approximately 17 percent found in modern wild rice.

This shows that rice was first domesticated in the same period when wheat was first cultivated in the Near East and maize in South America, which also occurred around 10,000 years ago.

Read more about the study from CAS.