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Crop Biotech Update

Domestication of Soybean Started Earlier than Thought

November 18, 2011

Archeologists led by Gyoung-Ah-Lee of the University of Oregon report that contrary to the belief that China was the first site of human domestication of soybeans, other cultures in earlier times and locations already adopted the legume. The research team which moves domestication back to perhaps 5,500 years ago makes this assertion in the online journal PLoS ONE. It uncovered evidence for a cultural selection for larger sized soybeans at 3,000 years ago in South Korea and Japan.

The new archaeological evidence may lead to developing a better soybean variety through the collaboration of archaeologists, crop scientists and plant geneticists. "I think one contribution that archaeologists can make is how peoples in ancient times contributed to our heritage of this viable crop and how we can trace their efforts and the methods to help guide us to make even better crops today," Lee said.

View the University of Oregon news at http://uonews.uoregon.edu/archive/news-release/2011/11/adoption-soybeans-was-earlier-thought-and-widespread-archaeologists-say.