Upon comparing crop plants with their wild ancestors it is clear that they have gone through massive change during an evolutionary short time period. Traits that have been useful to mankind have been enhanced, both through unconscious selection and through planned plant improvement. At the same time crop plants have adapted to being cultivated under a range of climatic conditions.
In this project we study different aspects of crop plant evolution. Which genes are responsible for climate adaptation? How have crop plants spread over the world? Which genes control nutrient content? How have crop plants changed over time as a response to evolutionary processes? And how were crop plants affected when we went from smale-scale farming in the 19th century to the large-scale high-yield agricultural systems of today. We are trying to answer these, and other, questions through genetic analyses of extant crop plants, crop plants stored in historical collections and archaeological remains of crop plants.