1989, pp 165-191

Isozymic Evidence and the Evolution of Crop Plants

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Abstract

There is nothing in nature that faintly resembles such human creations as an ear of corn, a head of cauliflower, or the curiously sculptured fruit of an ornamental gourd. While these are extreme examples, they typify a problem that has unnerved crop evolutionists for over a century, namely that crop species often show such wide morphological departures from their nearest wild relatives that the link between them cannot be established with certainty. Another problem that has muddied the waters surrounding the origin of many domesticated plants is the existence of weedy intermediates between the wild and cultivated forms. Do these represent escapes from cultivation, hybrid derivatives of the cultigen and wild type, or true evolutionary intermediates? The question is apt to have different answers for different crops.