Earliest domestication of common millet (Panicum miliaceum) in East Asia extended to 10,000 years ago

Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 05/2009; 106(18):7367-72. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0900158106
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The origin of millet from Neolithic China has generally been accepted, but it remains unknown whether common millet (Panicum miliaceum) or foxtail millet (Setaria italica) was the first species domesticated. Nor do we know the timing of their domestication and their routes of dispersal. Here, we report the discovery of husk phytoliths and biomolecular components identifiable solely as common millet from newly excavated storage pits at the Neolithic Cishan site, China, dated to between ca. 10,300 and ca. 8,700 calibrated years before present (cal yr BP). After ca. 8,700 cal yr BP, the grain crops began to contain a small quantity of foxtail millet. Our research reveals that the common millet was the earliest dry farming crop in East Asia, which is probably attributed to its excellent resistance to drought.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The widespread problem of infant malnutrition in developing countries has stirred efforts in research, development and extension by both local and international organizations. As a result, the formulation and development of nutritious weaning foods from local and readily available raw materials, which are cost effective has become imperative in many developing countries. Thus, the local and readily available raw materials were used to compound and develop nutritious new infant formulae. The materials used for this study include maize, millet, cowpea, pumpkin, fingerlings and fish bone. The materials were dried and blended to powder. The powders were weighed in the ratio of 4:4:4:3:1:1 respectively and were then mixed properly. Analysis of nutritive value was performed on the formulae and compared with NAN-2 (control) and results revealed that the formulae had reasonable amount of moisture, lipids, carbohydrate, protein and fibre. Although NAN-2 was superior in carbohydrate and protein, our infant formula was higher in mineral elements, vitamins, fibre and lipids. All the essentials vitamins and both macro and micro minerals were found in appreciable quantity capable of meeting the biochemical and physiological demand of the body while the anti-nutrients composition were significantly (p<0.05) below FAO and WHO safe limits. Finally, the compounded infant formulae was feed to a set of albino wistar rats, while some other set of rats was feed with NAN-2 for the period of twenty seven (27) days and body weight gains were measure at three days intervals. The results of body weight changes was spectacular as their body weight over shot or almost double that of those animals that were feed with NAN-2 at each point of measurement. The results suggest that the widespread problem of infant malnutrition in the developing world especially among the low income segment of the society can now be reduced, if not totally eradicated since nutritive and cost effective weaning formulae can be prepared locally from common readily available materials.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Stable isotopic analysis of carbon and nitrogen in human and faunal remains has been widely used to reconstruct prehistoric diets and environmental changes. Isotopic analysis of plant remains allows for a more extensive consideration of paleodiets and can potentially provide information about the environment in which the crops were grown. This paper reports the results of δ 13 C and δ 15 N analyses performed on modern and charred archaeological foxtail millet samples collected from the western part of the Chinese Loess Plateau. The δ 13 C mean value of modern samples is lower than that of ancient samples. There is a significant difference between grain and leaf δ 15 N values. These results challenge the standard assumption in isotope studies that the nitrogen isotope signals of the different part of plants consumed by humans and animals are the same. The 3–5‰ difference between human and animal δ 15 N values is always regarded as an indicator of whether human diets contained considerable animal protein. The difference between grain and leaf δ 15 N values makes this assumption problematic in a foxtail millet-dominated society.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Small millets are nutrient-rich food sources traditionally grown and consumed by subsistence farmers in Asia and Africa. They include finger millet (Eleusine coracana), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), barnyard millet (Echinochloa spp.), and little millet (Panicum sumatrense). Local farmers value the small millets for their nutritional and health benefits, tolerance to extreme stress including drought, and ability to grow under low nutrient input conditions, ideal in an era of climate change and steadily depleting natural resources. Little scientific attention has been paid to these crops, hence they have been termed " orphan cereals. " Despite this challenge, an advantageous quality of the small millets is that they continue to be grown in remote regions of the world which has preserved their biodiversity, providing breeders with unique alleles for crop improvement. The purpose of this review, first, is to highlight the diverse traits of each small millet species that are valued by farmers and consumers which hold potential for selection, improvement or mechanistic study. For each species, the germplasm, genetic and genomic resources available will then be described as potential tools to exploit this biodiversity. The review will conclude with noting current trends and gaps in the literature and make recommendations on how to better preserve and utilize diversity within these species to accelerate a New Green Revolution for subsistence farmers in Asia and Africa.
    Frontiers in Plant Science 04/2015; 1(6):157. DOI:10.3389/fpls.2015.00157 · 3.64 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 20, 2014