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Integrating the processes in the evolutionary system of domestication

By Robin G. Allaby


Genetics has long been used as a source of evidence to understand domestication origins. A recent shift in the emphasis of archaeological evidence from a rapid transition paradigm of hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists, to a protracted transition paradigm has highlighted how the scientific framework of interpretation of genetic data was quite dependent on archaeological evidence, resulting in a period of discord in which the two evidence types appeared to support different paradigms. Further examination showed that the discriminatory power of the approaches employed in genetics was low, and framed within the rapid paradigm rather than testing it. In order to interpret genetic data under the new protracted paradigm it must be taken into account how that paradigm changes our expectations of genetic diversity. Preliminary examination suggests that a number of features that constituted key evidence in the rapid paradigm are likely to be interpreted very differently in the protracted paradigm. Specifically, in the protracted transition the mode and mechanisms involved in the evolution of the domestication syndrome have become much more influential in the shape of genetic diversity. The result is that numerous factors interacting over several levels of organization in a domestication system need to be taken into account in order to understand the evolution of the process. This presents a complex problem of integration of different data types which is difficult to describe formally. One possible way forward is to use Bayesian approximation approaches that allow complex systems to be measured in a way that does not require such formality

Topics: QH426
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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