New Evidence Shows Sweet Potato Came Before Humans; Says No Early Contact Between America and PolynesiaApril 18, 2018
New research led by Oxford University reveals that sweet potato likely arrived naturally in Polynesia in pre-human times, challenging the belief that one of the world's most important crops was transported from America to Polynesia by people.
Christopher Columbus' arrival in America in 1492 marked the beginning of the great age of exploration in the world. The early presence of sweet potato in Polynesia has been widely interpreted as strong evidence for contacts between Polynesians and Americans in the Pre-Columbian era, whereas the possibility that the sweet potato crossed the Ocean through natural dispersal has received little attention.
Led by Professor Robert Scotland and Post Doctoral students Pablo Muñoz-Rodríguez and Tom Carruthers from Oxford's Department of Plant Sciences, with contributions from The International Potato Centre, Oregon State University, and Duke University, the new report published in Current Biology is the first complete study of the evolution and origin of sweet potato.
The research findings reveal that sweet potato was not brought to Polynesia by humans, but that it probably traveled from America by natural means. It was also revealed that the earliest collection of sweet potato from Polynesia, collected in 1769 during Captain Cook's voyage in the Endeavour, represents a distinct variety that originated before humans colonized the region. This evidence challenges the claim that there were pre-Columbian contacts between Polynesia and South America, even more considering that the early presence of sweet potato in the region has been presented as one of the main proofs of those contacts.
Read more details in the news release from the University of Oxford.
ISAAA shares, disseminates, and promotes science-based information to help in achieving global agricultural sustainability and development. During this time of COVID-19 pandemic, we monitor research on treatments, vaccines and keep track of the pandemic's effect on food security and agriculture. We help the public make informed decisions and actions to mitigate and recover from the impact of COVID-19. At this crucial time, we need your help. Please support our efforts today from as little as $10
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Science Enthusiasts Call for Science-based Biotech Policies in Uganda
- Kenyan Government Banks on Bt Cotton to Revive Textile Industry
- Corn Hybrids with High Yields Come with More Variability
- Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center of South Korea Officially Launched
- Experiences on Implementing GM Labeling Laws Tackled in Seminar
- Engineers Discover Bacterium for Greener and Cheaper Biofuel Production
- New Evidence Shows Sweet Potato Came Before Humans; Says No Early Contact Between America and Polynesia
- Scientists from Wageningen University Discover Wild Relative of Tomato Resistant to Many Insects
- Improving Starch Yield of Tobacco Using Cassava Gene ssiv
- Cloning and Sequencing of Two Genes Encoding Methylketone Synthase 2 (MKS2) from Tobacco
- Enzyme from Chinese Tallow Improves Freezing Tolerance in Oilseed Rape
Plant Breeding Innovations
- Cas9 Technology Used to Analyze Role of MORC1 in Barley
- Chinese Research Team Finds Chloroplast Biogenesis Genes in Rice
- NDC80 Protein Complex Responsible for Cell Division in Arabidopsis
- Researchers Increase Lycopene Content in Tomato
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Researchers Develop First Gene Drive Targeting World's Invasive Crop Pest
- Chinese Scientists Improve Microbe's Succinate-Producing Ability
- Genome Editing Infographic
Subscribe to CBU: