Crop Biotech Update

CAS Researchers Discover Evidence of the Beginning Rice Cultivation

April 4, 2018

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) scientists discovered the evidence of the shift from wild rice to rice cultivation.

The CAS team collected and analyzed samples of phytoliths, a microscopic structure of silicon dioxide, from rice leaves in an archaeological profile at Hehuashan site in China. According to the researchers, a modification in the quantity and forms of the fan-shaped phytoliths recovered from the Early Neolithic site showed a change from wild rice to cultivated rice at the time of human occupation, which provides evidence of potential manipulation of wild rice during Shangshan Culture period about 10,000 years ago.

The results show that rice cultivation went through a long evolutionary process. "Ancient humans recognized wild rice could satisfy their hunger," said Wu Yan, associate professor from CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology. "Then they learnt to collect and preserve wild rice and began rice cultivation."

The researchers also found that the phytoliths were resistant to corrosion and were well-preserved. Thus, they could be vital in the research about the origins of rice.

Read the original article from CAS.