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posted by martyb on Wednesday April 12 2017, @01:46AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the faba-ulous dept.

http://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/chemistry/search-wild-fava-bean

Like all food crops, the faba, or fava, bean -- a nutritious part of many the diet of many cultures diets -- had a wild ancestor. Wild faba is presumed to be extinct, but Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have now identified 14,000-year-old remains of seeds that offer important clues as to the time and place that this plant grew naturally. Understanding the ecology of the wild plants' environment and the evolution they underwent in the course of domestication is crucial to improving the biodiversity of the modern crop. The findings were reported in Scientific Reports.

[...] The new finding -- faba seeds from an archaeological site, el-Wad, on Mount Carmel in Northern Israel -- came from the earliest levels of an excavation that had been carried out by Profs. Mina Evron and Daniel Kaufman, and Dr. Reuven Yeshurun, all of Haifa University. The people living at that time, the Natufians, were hunter-gathers, and thus the plants there were growing wild. Boaretto and Caracuta performed radiocarbon dating and micro X-ray CT analysis on the preserved pieces of bean to pinpoint their age and identify them as the ancestors of the modern fava bean.

"Sometime between 11,000 and 14,000 years ago, people in this region domesticated faba -- around the same time that others farther north were domesticating wheat and barley," says Boaretto. Faba, a nutritious legume, is eaten around the world; in some places it is used for animal feed; and it fixes nitrogen in the soil. "Understanding how this plant was adapted to the habitat of the Carmel 14,000 years ago can help us understand how to create new modern varieties that will better be able to withstand pests and tolerate environmental stress," she says.

Vicia faba.

14,000-year-old seeds indicate the Levantine origin of the lost progenitor of faba bean (open, DOI: 10.1038/srep37399) (DX)


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12 2017, @02:07AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12 2017, @02:07AM (#492576)

    ...like Jurassic Park but with legumes.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12 2017, @04:39AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12 2017, @04:39AM (#492610)

      ... like The Silence of the Lambs but without the Chianti.

  • (Score: 2) by driven on Wednesday April 12 2017, @02:29AM (5 children)

    by driven (6295) on Wednesday April 12 2017, @02:29AM (#492581)

    A quote from one of the wikipedia references [angelfire.com]:

    You'll also find here a few articles about plant breeding, including instructions for beginners. Let me stress this: plant breeding is something anyone can do. You don't need to know anything about genetics and you don't need a huge garden.

    Why am I doing all this? Well, I'd like to help revive the lost art of amateur plant breeding. A century ago all gardeners saved seed and selected their own local strains. Now we've got into the habit of going to the garden centre and buying standardised seed (homogenised and mass-produced). As a result of this, centuries of genetic diversity has been wiped, locally-adapted variants are all but non-existent, and the age-old sustainable practice of seed-saving turns to a cycle of commerce. Our long-term food security relies on a diverse genepool, the opposite of what the seed industry is giving us. It's never been more important for us all to grow, save and share our own seeds. Especially in Europe, where the sale of seeds is severely restricted by law, limiting available varieties and bringing another irreversible loss of diversity.

    I'm no green thumb (not even close) but I believe growing our own food is something we should all be more aware of and able to do. I tried growing potatoes indoors over the winter and made a nice plant but no potatoes under the soil. Not sure what went wrong there. :) This year I want to try and keep bugs off my apple tree. Gotta start somewhere.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday April 12 2017, @02:40AM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 12 2017, @02:40AM (#492583) Journal

      Let me stress this: plant breeding is something anyone can do.

      That's bullshit! Only ancient aliens (Nephilim) or Monsanto can effectively breed plants.

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      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday April 12 2017, @02:44AM (1 child)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 12 2017, @02:44AM (#492585) Homepage Journal

        "Only ancient aliens (Nephilim) or Monsanto"

        Won't you help to stamp out repetitive redundancy, totally and completely?

        --
        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12 2017, @08:03PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12 2017, @08:03PM (#493023)

          Why does it bother you so much to reply?

    • (Score: 2) by Scruffy Beard 2 on Wednesday April 12 2017, @03:05AM (1 child)

      by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Wednesday April 12 2017, @03:05AM (#492593)

      I think potatoes need a lot of light to grow tubers. That is challenging indoors.

      But yeah, I usually get a nice 15cm plant, then kill it.

      Cacti are hard to kill :)

      • (Score: 2) by driven on Wednesday April 12 2017, @04:42AM

        by driven (6295) on Wednesday April 12 2017, @04:42AM (#492611)

        Thanks - good to know about the spuds! A cactus is one of the plants I have that I haven't killed, though I had one side die off slowly while a new sprout became dominant. Maybe it was shifting resources? I've also discovered that a bit of plant food can do wonders.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12 2017, @03:02AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12 2017, @03:02AM (#492592)
    • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Wednesday April 12 2017, @03:16AM (1 child)

      by Mykl (1112) on Wednesday April 12 2017, @03:16AM (#492596)

      Came here for this - was not disappointed.

      • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Wednesday April 12 2017, @04:23AM

        by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Wednesday April 12 2017, @04:23AM (#492605) Journal

        Ditto

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    • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Wednesday April 12 2017, @07:53AM

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Wednesday April 12 2017, @07:53AM (#492657)

      I only loaded the comments on this story because someone had to do it.

      Well played and Thank you!

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
  • (Score: 2) by iWantToKeepAnon on Wednesday April 12 2017, @07:49PM

    by iWantToKeepAnon (686) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 12 2017, @07:49PM (#493010) Homepage Journal
    Did they find some nice chianti grape vines near by? And evidence of liver in the waste piles?
    --
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