Domestication of Starch

In the past two centuries, we have made monumental advances in nutrition, allowing us to virtually eliminate famine in the developed world. These 200 years or so are just a minute episode in the long co-evolution that humans and plants underwent. Within such a relationship, the most significant advanced development occurred about 15,000 years ago when plant domestication occurred. Domestication has occurred repeatedly in different regions of the world.

Rice is unique among wild plants for having been domesticated independently on three continents : Asia, Africa, and now South America, researchers have discovered. Asia is the home of domesticated rice. The oldest evidence of rice consumption identified to date is four grains of rice recovered from the Yuchanyan Cave, Hunan Province in China. Date between 12,000 and 16,000 years ago. There is a general agreement that the originally domesticated plant for all rice varieties occurred in the lower Yangtze River Valley by hunter-gatherers approximately 9,000 to 10,000 years ago. In Africa, another domestication/hybridization happened about 3,200 years ago, during the African Iron Age in the Niger Delta region of West Africa. The South American variety was tamed about 4000 years ago in the southwestern Amazon basin and abandoned after the arrival of the Europeans.
The Fertile Crescent was the site of wheat and barley (Hordeum vulgare), the founder crops agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago. Americas are the home where maize and potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) domestication took place. Wheat and barley are two of the founder crops of the agricultural revolution that took place 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, and both crops remain among the world’s most important crops. The Americas are the home of cultivated maize and potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). In Meso-America, the earliest dated maize cob was discovered in Guilá Naquitz cave in Oaxaca and dates back to 4300 BC. It was first domesticated in South America, in the Andean highlands, between Peru and Bolivia, more than 10,000 years ago.