Archaeology in the News WK 4 Kasandra Purkey

The article that I chose this week was entitled “Ancient Rice DNA Data Provides New View of Domestication History”. It discussed how there are four types of domestic rice yet only two are seen throughout the world. That Japonica rice is the common rice found in Northern Asia but when excavating sites from across the area within the last three thousand years we see that Indica rice was most common. The process requires finding DNA from rice from the past and then comparing them to a database of modern rice that contained two hundred and sixteen varieties. It shows that domestication processes involve reducing the genetic diversity of a species resulting in the Japonica rice being the most domesticated.

Using this information it may one day be possible to determine the relative domestication of a society based on the evidence left behind by their food. By understanding the ways that rice have changed over many years may allow us to see how well a society is doing because evidence of certain rice types may show mastery of the land by choosing to domesticate a rice that is hardier in dry climates or requires less work to maintain. It may also allow us to track trading of different rice types by showing which cultures grew which rice and whether it shows up in other locations.

2 thoughts on “Archaeology in the News WK 4 Kasandra Purkey

  1. Very interesting post! It is really crazy that a really important food staple such as rice that is used around the world only has two common domestic varieties. I wonder why Japonica rice became more domesticated instead of Indica rice and what types of traits separated the two types of rice. It is really interesting that researchers will be able to tell how successful a society is simply based on what kind of rice they use! Since rice is so central to many different countries, cuisines, and groups of people, it is really important that we know how it has evolved which will hopefully help us to continue growing rice in the future.

  2. I found this blog list very intriguing, so I went to the full article and reviewed it more in detail! It is so interesting that this was the first time scientists have been able to use DNA sequences to compare modern and ancient rice. While this is somewhat ignorant, without thinking too deeply about it, many people may assume that the simple foods we consume today, such as rice, haven’t really changed all that much over centuries. When we are able to discover the process by which rice was domesticated and why, we gain knowledge of the types of individuals who were living during that time. Who know rice could be so interesting?
    Thanks!

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