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Studies on Ancient Rice—Where Botanists, Agronomists, Archeologists, Linguists, and Ethnologists Meet

Studies on Ancient Rice—Where Botanists, Agronomists, Archeologists, Linguists, and Ethnologists... Rice (2011) 4:178–183 DOI 10.1007/s12284-011-9075-x Studies on Ancient Rice—Where Botanists, Agronomists, Archeologists, Linguists, and Ethnologists Meet Jaw-shu Hsieh & Yue-ie Caroline Hsing & Tze-fu Hsu & Paul Jen-kuei Li & Kuang-ti Li & Cheng-hwa Tsang Received: 23 October 2011 /Accepted: 5 December 2011 /Published online: 24 December 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011 Abstract Taiwan’s aboriginal peoples are thought to be The aboriginal peoples in Taiwan related to ancestral Austronesian-speaking peoples. Currently, Taiwan has 14 officially acknowledged aboriginal tribes. The Taiwanese aborigines are the original inhabitants of Taiwan. major crops currently farmed in aboriginal areas are rice Recent research suggests that their ancestors may have been (Oryza sativa) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica). Archeolo- living on Taiwan and its surrounding islands for approxi- gists recently excavated the remains of several early cultures mately 8,000 years before a major Han Chinese immigration in Taiwan. The most plentiful plant remains were carbonated began in the seventeenth century (Blust 1985). Taiwanese rice and foxtail millet grains. The earliest Cdate of these aborigines are Austronesian-speaking peoples, with linguistic excavation sites is ∼5,000 BP. These settlements may be those and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups such as of the earliest ancestral Austronesian speakers in Taiwan. Rice peoples of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar, domestication is a complex story. In this study, we identified Polynesia, and Oceania (Hill et al. 2007). the functional nucleotide polymorphisms of 16 domestication- During the late sixteenth century, Taiwan had two major related genes using 60 landraces collected from aboriginal aboriginal groups or tribes: “Plains,” or lowland tribes (in Taiwanese villages about 100 years ago. We also screened Chinese: Pingpu zu), and “High Mountain” or highland the phenotypes of these landraces. By integrating pheno- tribes (Gaoshan zu). The former consisted of eight separate and genotypic data, together with data from archeologists tribes: Luilang, Ketagalan, Taokas, Pazeh, Papora, Babuza, and linguists, we may be able to better understand the history Hoanya, and Siraya. Most of these were assimilated into the of rice cultivation in Taiwan and nearby areas. Han culture about 300 years ago. The latter group consists of 14 tribes (Council of Indigenous People, http://www.apc. . . . Keywords Austronesian Domestication Rice Taiwan gov.tw/). Figure 1 indicates the general location of each of these High Mountain peoples. The following describes their location and population: J.-s. Hsieh Department of Agronomy, National Taiwan University, 1. Atayal: northern part of Taiwan's Central Mountain Taipei, Taiwan area; about 81,000 people. 2. Truku: along the Liwu River Valley to the east, about Y.-i. C. Hsing (*) T.-f. Hsu Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, 24,000 people. Taipei, Taiwan 3. Sakizaya: Chilai plain of Hualien County, about 335 e-mail: bohsing@gate.sinica.edu.tw people. 4. Kavalan: once lived in Yilan but now located in the P. J.-k. Li Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, areas of Hualien and Taitung, about 1,100 people. Taipei, Taiwan 5. Amis: the largest group of indigenous people in Taiwan and distributed along the plains surrounding Mount Chi- K.-t. Li C.-h. Tsang lai in northern Hualien County, south through to the long Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan and narrow coastal plains and hilly areas of Taitung Rice (2011) 4:178–183 179 series of settlement pauses and expansion pulses linked to technological and social innovations (Gray et al. 2009). Thus, the study of aboriginal Taiwanese lan- guages, known as Formosan languages, is significant. About a dozen Formosan languages currently exist and are quite divergent. The Formosan languages contain many interesting linguistic features not found in any other Austronesian languages outside of Taiwan. Dia- chronically, they contain many archaic features, so their study is crucial to reconstruct the Proto-Austronesian (PAN) language spoken about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. However, adequate descriptions and data are available for only a few of these languages, such as Atayal, Seediq, Tsou, Rukai, Bunun, Amis, Paiwan, and Kavalan. Most of the other lan- guages are still poorly understood (Li 2000). Of the approx- imately 26 known Formosan languages, at least ten are extinct, five are moribund (Zeitoun and Yu 2007), and several Fig. 1 Distribution of Taiwan's aboriginal peoples (data from the are endangered. These languages have unique historical sig- Council of Indigenous Peoples, Taiwan; http://www.apc.gov.tw/). nificance, because most historical linguists consider Taiwan to be the original homeland of the Austronesian language family (Blust 1985). County and Pingtung's Hengchun Peninsula, about 177,000 people. 6. Puyuma: southern area of the Taitung Longitudinal Valley, about 11,000 people. Archeological studies of early inhabitants of Taiwan 7. Yami: Orchid Island, off the coast of Taitung County; the only oceanic tribe in Taiwan, about 3,500 people The earliest inhabitants of Taiwan had pre-ceramic assemb- lages. These have been dated from 20,000–30,000 to 5,000 spread over six island villages. Because of their isolated location, their culture remains relatively intact. BP in the cave site at Chang-pin on the east coast of Taiwan 8. Paiwan: scattered across both sides of the southern and at the O-luan-pi II and Lung-keng sites on the south Central Mountain Range; about 86,000 people. coast (Sung 1969;Li 1985). These assemblages have been 9. Rukai: around Maolin Township in Kaohsiung County, defined as the “Chang-pin Culture” and are characterized by Wutai Township in Pingtung County, and Donghsing a lithic industry consisting of chipped pebble and flake tools, Township in Taitung County, about 11,600 people. as well as the absence of pottery and no evidence of farming. 10. Tsou: primarily in Alishan Township in Chiayi County, However, we lack evidence to support a relationship between Sinyi Township in Nantou County, and Tauyuan and the Chang-pin Culture and the earliest Austronesian-speaking Namasia townships, Kaohsiung County, about 6,500 peoples. people. Which Neolithic culture or cultures might represent the 11. Bunun: scattered across the central mountainous areas earliest PAN-speaking peoples? In the 1940s, Dr. Kano between 1,000 and 2,000 m a.s.l., about 50,000 people. Tadao was the first to suggest that the earliest Neolithic 12. Thao: primarily in Yuchih and Shueili townships in cultural stratum in Taiwan was characterized by cord- Nantou County, about 648 people. marked pottery (Tadao 1955). The identification of charac- 13. Sediq: Chilai plain of Hualien County, about 10,000 teristics and formal establishment of an archeological cul- people. ture were not completed until Kwang-chih Chang's 1964– 14. Saisiyat: primarily in Wufeng Village of Hsinchu 1965 excavations of the Ta-pen-keng site in Taipei and County and in Nanjuang and Shitan villages of Miaoli Feng-pi-tou site in Kaohsiung County. Chang (1969, 1989) County, about 5,300 people. named the culture “Ta-pen-keng (TPK)” and described it as having the following characteristics: 1. Pottery made of coarse paste and decorated with cord- Formosan languages marked impressions 2. The oldest Neolithic cultural horizon found to date in Language trees place the arrival of original Austronesians in Taiwan, apparently antedating the subsequent prehistor- Taiwan at approximately 5,230 years ago and suggest a ic culture, which began round 2,500 BC 180 Rice (2011) 4:178–183 3. A subsistence base of hunting, fishing, and collecting; some forms of farming, such as root and fruit cultivation 4. Settlements located on marine and river terraces, not far from water sources 5. Evolution in a humid and warm subtropical–tropical environment During the last two decades, more TPK sites have been found around the southern, northern, and eastern coasts of Taiwan (Chen 2000; Liu 1995, 2000, 2002; Lien and Sung 1986; Tsang 2005, 2007, 2010; Tsang et al. 1994, 2004). The sites with the earliest data are Nan-kuan-li and Nan-kuan-li East in southern Taiwan. Ten C dates obtained from these sites indicate that they were formed between 3,000 and 2,500 BC. The pottery unearthed from Nan-kuan-li is mainly jars and bowls, dark or reddish brown in color, with cord- marked, painted, and incised decorations. Stone tools were Fig. 2 Farming tools and carbonated seeds excavated from Nan-kuan-li mainly polished adzes, arrowheads, and net sinkers. Instead and Nan-kuan-li East sites in southern Taiwan. a Shell knife Bar=5 cm. b of stone knives, a large number of reaping knives, made of Stone hoe. Bar=5 cm. c Intact (left) and dehulled (right) carbonated foxtail millet seeds. Bar01mm. d Carbonated rice seeds. Bar05mm. windowpane oyster (Placuna placenta) shells, were recov- ered. A few bone and antler artifacts were uncovered, in- cluding points, chisels, and bead and pendant ornaments. Rice landraces cultivated in aboriginal villages Fourteen burials were recovered, most of which were in a supine and extended posture, with their heads all pointing The beginnings and spread of rice agriculture are related to toward the south. A large number of faunal and plant the cultural and linguistic developments of early Asian remains were recovered. Major faunal remains included societies. Using archeological studies and sequence analysis bones of fish, deer, pigs, and dogs. Plant remains consisted of domestication-related genes, McCouch and colleagues mainly of rice (Oryza sativa), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), recently provided new insights into the history of rice do- quassia wood (Picrasma quassioides), and Chinese hack- mestication (Kovach et al., 2007). The proposed origin and berry (Celtis sinensis) seeds. dispersal of domesticated rice is illustrated in Fig II of that Here, we mainly report on work at the Nan-kuan-li and paper, which denotes the possible paths of domesticated rice Nan-kuan-li East sites near the Science-Based Industrial dispersal. One of the paths of dispersion coincided well with Park in southern Taiwan. This is the drainage area of the the migration pattern of the early Austronesians, which Zengwun River. Many sites have been excavated, with dates suggests a positive relation between the migration of Aus- obtained for at least every 500 years since ∼5,000 BP. Tens of tronesian peoples and the dispersal of domesticated rice. thousands of both rice and foxtail millet seeds were found at The major staple crops in Taiwan's aboriginal villages are a single site, so cereals were important crops at the early rice and foxtail millet. About 100 years ago and during the stage of the PAN-speaking population about 5,000 years Japanese colonial period, Dr. Iso, a famous rice breeder, col- ago, as predicted by Gray et al. (2009). lected about 60 rice landraces from the aboriginal villages in Figure 2 illustrates the farming tools (shell knife and the high mountain areas of Taiwan. These seeds were well stone hoe) and carbonated seeds (rice and foxtail millet) preserved then transferred to the Taiwan Agriculture Research excavated from the sites. The shell knife may have been Institute in 1945. However, the samples contained only land- used for harvesting rice panicles. Most of the excavated rice race names and seeds, with no record of the location or village seeds were dehulled, with the glume, palea, and lemma where they were collected. Several linguists helped identify the removed. However, many of the foxtail millet seeds were possible tribes where these landraces came from. Currently, we hulled (i.e., consisting of the glume). have good information for about ten landraces. From these findings, we can modify some of the points of These 60 rice landraces show wide variation in pheno- TPK culture addressed by Chang (1969; 1989): type, including grain size, plant size and architecture, above- 1. TPK is the oldest Neolithic cultural horizon found to ground biomass, heading habitat, and drought tolerance. date in Taiwan, and it began around 3,000 BC. Figure 3 illustrates the phenotype of several plant types 2. The subsistence base was hunting, fishing, and farming. and seed phenotypes. Many of them consist of awns and Cultivation of cereals mainly involved rice and foxtail partial shattering; that is, they do not exhibit the features of millet; roots and fruit were also cultivated. modern varieties. Rice (2011) 4:178–183 181 Fig. 3 Examples of the 60 rice landraces collected from aboriginal Taiwanese villages about 100 years ago. a 1–9 plant types. b Hulled and unhulled rice seeds. Studies of domestication-related rice genes Domestication involves a series of profound genetic changes resulting from selections to make wild species easier for Table 1 Domestication-related genes found in analysis of 60 rice cultivation and better for consumption. For rice domestication, landraces collected from aboriginal Taiwanese villages about 100 years the major traits altered include the following: ago 1. Grain: size, shape, color, fragrance, amylose content Gene Chromosome Trait affected References 2. Seed: shattering behavior, awn, panicle size and shape Gw2 2 Grain weight/ Song et al. (2007) 3. Plant structure: more tillers, not spread out width Gs3 3 Grain size/shape Fan et al. (2006) qSW5 5 Grain size Shomura et al. (2008) Rc 7 Pericarp color Sweeney et al. (2006) Sdr4 7 Seed dormancy Sugimoto et al. (2010) Badh2 8 Grain fragrance Bradbury et al. (2005; 2008) Qsh1 1 Grain shattering Konishi et al. (2006) Qsh4 4 Grain shattering Li et al. (2006) Sh-h 7 Grain shattering Ji et al. (2010) Waxy 6 Low amylose Yamanaka et al. (2004) content Ehd1 10 Heading date Saito et al. (2009) Hd1 6 Heading date Yano et al. (2000) Hd3a 6 Heading date Kojima et al. (2002) Hd6 3 Heading date Takahashi et al. (2001) SE5 6 Heading date Izawa et al. (2000) Fig. 4 Huge variations occurred at the domestication-related genes of the 60 rice landraces. a TILLING analysis of Ehd1 gene using 16 Ehd2 10 Heading date Matsubara et al. (2008) landraces. b Gel analysis of Hd1 gene using 16 landraces. 182 Rice (2011) 4:178–183 4. Heading or flowering: photoperiod sensitive References Using these 60 rice landraces, we worked on 16 Blust R. The Austronesian homeland: a linguistic perspective. Asian domestication-related genes, including three grain shape- Perspectives. 1985;26(1):45–67. related genes, one grain color gene, one seed dormancy- Bradbury LM, Fitzgerald TL, Henry RJ, Jin Q, Waters DL. The gene related gene, one grain fragrance-related gene, three genes for fragrance in rice. Plant Biotechnol J. 2005;3:363–70. controlling grain shattering, and one gene controlling sticky Bradbury LM, Gillies SA, Brushett DJ, Waters DL, Henry RJ. Inacti- rice features (Table 1). These genes have been widely used vation of an aminoaldehyde dehydrogenase is responsible for fragrance in rice. Plant Mol Biol. 2008;68:439–49. in other domestication-related rice research. Chang KC. Fengpitou, Tapenkeng and the Prehistory of Taiwan. Yale Rice is short-day plant and can be harvested only once University Publications in Anthropology No 73. New Haven: Yale when grown in high-latitude areas such as Japan, Korea, and University; 1969. Chang KC. Taiwan archaeology in Pacific perspective. 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Taipei. 2007. p. 2001;98:7922–7. 28–42. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Rice Springer Journals

Studies on Ancient Rice—Where Botanists, Agronomists, Archeologists, Linguists, and Ethnologists Meet

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Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Life Sciences; Plant Sciences; Plant Genetics & Genomics; Plant Breeding/Biotechnology; Agriculture; Plant Ecology
ISSN
1939-8425
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1939-8433
DOI
10.1007/s12284-011-9075-x
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Abstract

Rice (2011) 4:178–183 DOI 10.1007/s12284-011-9075-x Studies on Ancient Rice—Where Botanists, Agronomists, Archeologists, Linguists, and Ethnologists Meet Jaw-shu Hsieh & Yue-ie Caroline Hsing & Tze-fu Hsu & Paul Jen-kuei Li & Kuang-ti Li & Cheng-hwa Tsang Received: 23 October 2011 /Accepted: 5 December 2011 /Published online: 24 December 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011 Abstract Taiwan’s aboriginal peoples are thought to be The aboriginal peoples in Taiwan related to ancestral Austronesian-speaking peoples. Currently, Taiwan has 14 officially acknowledged aboriginal tribes. The Taiwanese aborigines are the original inhabitants of Taiwan. major crops currently farmed in aboriginal areas are rice Recent research suggests that their ancestors may have been (Oryza sativa) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica). Archeolo- living on Taiwan and its surrounding islands for approxi- gists recently excavated the remains of several early cultures mately 8,000 years before a major Han Chinese immigration in Taiwan. The most plentiful plant remains were carbonated began in the seventeenth century (Blust 1985). Taiwanese rice and foxtail millet grains. The earliest Cdate of these aborigines are Austronesian-speaking peoples, with linguistic excavation sites is ∼5,000 BP. These settlements may be those and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups such as of the earliest ancestral Austronesian speakers in Taiwan. Rice peoples of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar, domestication is a complex story. In this study, we identified Polynesia, and Oceania (Hill et al. 2007). the functional nucleotide polymorphisms of 16 domestication- During the late sixteenth century, Taiwan had two major related genes using 60 landraces collected from aboriginal aboriginal groups or tribes: “Plains,” or lowland tribes (in Taiwanese villages about 100 years ago. We also screened Chinese: Pingpu zu), and “High Mountain” or highland the phenotypes of these landraces. By integrating pheno- tribes (Gaoshan zu). The former consisted of eight separate and genotypic data, together with data from archeologists tribes: Luilang, Ketagalan, Taokas, Pazeh, Papora, Babuza, and linguists, we may be able to better understand the history Hoanya, and Siraya. Most of these were assimilated into the of rice cultivation in Taiwan and nearby areas. Han culture about 300 years ago. The latter group consists of 14 tribes (Council of Indigenous People, http://www.apc. . . . Keywords Austronesian Domestication Rice Taiwan gov.tw/). Figure 1 indicates the general location of each of these High Mountain peoples. The following describes their location and population: J.-s. Hsieh Department of Agronomy, National Taiwan University, 1. Atayal: northern part of Taiwan's Central Mountain Taipei, Taiwan area; about 81,000 people. 2. Truku: along the Liwu River Valley to the east, about Y.-i. C. Hsing (*) T.-f. Hsu Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, 24,000 people. Taipei, Taiwan 3. Sakizaya: Chilai plain of Hualien County, about 335 e-mail: bohsing@gate.sinica.edu.tw people. 4. Kavalan: once lived in Yilan but now located in the P. J.-k. Li Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, areas of Hualien and Taitung, about 1,100 people. Taipei, Taiwan 5. Amis: the largest group of indigenous people in Taiwan and distributed along the plains surrounding Mount Chi- K.-t. Li C.-h. Tsang lai in northern Hualien County, south through to the long Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan and narrow coastal plains and hilly areas of Taitung Rice (2011) 4:178–183 179 series of settlement pauses and expansion pulses linked to technological and social innovations (Gray et al. 2009). Thus, the study of aboriginal Taiwanese lan- guages, known as Formosan languages, is significant. About a dozen Formosan languages currently exist and are quite divergent. The Formosan languages contain many interesting linguistic features not found in any other Austronesian languages outside of Taiwan. Dia- chronically, they contain many archaic features, so their study is crucial to reconstruct the Proto-Austronesian (PAN) language spoken about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. However, adequate descriptions and data are available for only a few of these languages, such as Atayal, Seediq, Tsou, Rukai, Bunun, Amis, Paiwan, and Kavalan. Most of the other lan- guages are still poorly understood (Li 2000). Of the approx- imately 26 known Formosan languages, at least ten are extinct, five are moribund (Zeitoun and Yu 2007), and several Fig. 1 Distribution of Taiwan's aboriginal peoples (data from the are endangered. These languages have unique historical sig- Council of Indigenous Peoples, Taiwan; http://www.apc.gov.tw/). nificance, because most historical linguists consider Taiwan to be the original homeland of the Austronesian language family (Blust 1985). County and Pingtung's Hengchun Peninsula, about 177,000 people. 6. Puyuma: southern area of the Taitung Longitudinal Valley, about 11,000 people. Archeological studies of early inhabitants of Taiwan 7. Yami: Orchid Island, off the coast of Taitung County; the only oceanic tribe in Taiwan, about 3,500 people The earliest inhabitants of Taiwan had pre-ceramic assemb- lages. These have been dated from 20,000–30,000 to 5,000 spread over six island villages. Because of their isolated location, their culture remains relatively intact. BP in the cave site at Chang-pin on the east coast of Taiwan 8. Paiwan: scattered across both sides of the southern and at the O-luan-pi II and Lung-keng sites on the south Central Mountain Range; about 86,000 people. coast (Sung 1969;Li 1985). These assemblages have been 9. Rukai: around Maolin Township in Kaohsiung County, defined as the “Chang-pin Culture” and are characterized by Wutai Township in Pingtung County, and Donghsing a lithic industry consisting of chipped pebble and flake tools, Township in Taitung County, about 11,600 people. as well as the absence of pottery and no evidence of farming. 10. Tsou: primarily in Alishan Township in Chiayi County, However, we lack evidence to support a relationship between Sinyi Township in Nantou County, and Tauyuan and the Chang-pin Culture and the earliest Austronesian-speaking Namasia townships, Kaohsiung County, about 6,500 peoples. people. Which Neolithic culture or cultures might represent the 11. Bunun: scattered across the central mountainous areas earliest PAN-speaking peoples? In the 1940s, Dr. Kano between 1,000 and 2,000 m a.s.l., about 50,000 people. Tadao was the first to suggest that the earliest Neolithic 12. Thao: primarily in Yuchih and Shueili townships in cultural stratum in Taiwan was characterized by cord- Nantou County, about 648 people. marked pottery (Tadao 1955). The identification of charac- 13. Sediq: Chilai plain of Hualien County, about 10,000 teristics and formal establishment of an archeological cul- people. ture were not completed until Kwang-chih Chang's 1964– 14. Saisiyat: primarily in Wufeng Village of Hsinchu 1965 excavations of the Ta-pen-keng site in Taipei and County and in Nanjuang and Shitan villages of Miaoli Feng-pi-tou site in Kaohsiung County. Chang (1969, 1989) County, about 5,300 people. named the culture “Ta-pen-keng (TPK)” and described it as having the following characteristics: 1. Pottery made of coarse paste and decorated with cord- Formosan languages marked impressions 2. The oldest Neolithic cultural horizon found to date in Language trees place the arrival of original Austronesians in Taiwan, apparently antedating the subsequent prehistor- Taiwan at approximately 5,230 years ago and suggest a ic culture, which began round 2,500 BC 180 Rice (2011) 4:178–183 3. A subsistence base of hunting, fishing, and collecting; some forms of farming, such as root and fruit cultivation 4. Settlements located on marine and river terraces, not far from water sources 5. Evolution in a humid and warm subtropical–tropical environment During the last two decades, more TPK sites have been found around the southern, northern, and eastern coasts of Taiwan (Chen 2000; Liu 1995, 2000, 2002; Lien and Sung 1986; Tsang 2005, 2007, 2010; Tsang et al. 1994, 2004). The sites with the earliest data are Nan-kuan-li and Nan-kuan-li East in southern Taiwan. Ten C dates obtained from these sites indicate that they were formed between 3,000 and 2,500 BC. The pottery unearthed from Nan-kuan-li is mainly jars and bowls, dark or reddish brown in color, with cord- marked, painted, and incised decorations. Stone tools were Fig. 2 Farming tools and carbonated seeds excavated from Nan-kuan-li mainly polished adzes, arrowheads, and net sinkers. Instead and Nan-kuan-li East sites in southern Taiwan. a Shell knife Bar=5 cm. b of stone knives, a large number of reaping knives, made of Stone hoe. Bar=5 cm. c Intact (left) and dehulled (right) carbonated foxtail millet seeds. Bar01mm. d Carbonated rice seeds. Bar05mm. windowpane oyster (Placuna placenta) shells, were recov- ered. A few bone and antler artifacts were uncovered, in- cluding points, chisels, and bead and pendant ornaments. Rice landraces cultivated in aboriginal villages Fourteen burials were recovered, most of which were in a supine and extended posture, with their heads all pointing The beginnings and spread of rice agriculture are related to toward the south. A large number of faunal and plant the cultural and linguistic developments of early Asian remains were recovered. Major faunal remains included societies. Using archeological studies and sequence analysis bones of fish, deer, pigs, and dogs. Plant remains consisted of domestication-related genes, McCouch and colleagues mainly of rice (Oryza sativa), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), recently provided new insights into the history of rice do- quassia wood (Picrasma quassioides), and Chinese hack- mestication (Kovach et al., 2007). The proposed origin and berry (Celtis sinensis) seeds. dispersal of domesticated rice is illustrated in Fig II of that Here, we mainly report on work at the Nan-kuan-li and paper, which denotes the possible paths of domesticated rice Nan-kuan-li East sites near the Science-Based Industrial dispersal. One of the paths of dispersion coincided well with Park in southern Taiwan. This is the drainage area of the the migration pattern of the early Austronesians, which Zengwun River. Many sites have been excavated, with dates suggests a positive relation between the migration of Aus- obtained for at least every 500 years since ∼5,000 BP. Tens of tronesian peoples and the dispersal of domesticated rice. thousands of both rice and foxtail millet seeds were found at The major staple crops in Taiwan's aboriginal villages are a single site, so cereals were important crops at the early rice and foxtail millet. About 100 years ago and during the stage of the PAN-speaking population about 5,000 years Japanese colonial period, Dr. Iso, a famous rice breeder, col- ago, as predicted by Gray et al. (2009). lected about 60 rice landraces from the aboriginal villages in Figure 2 illustrates the farming tools (shell knife and the high mountain areas of Taiwan. These seeds were well stone hoe) and carbonated seeds (rice and foxtail millet) preserved then transferred to the Taiwan Agriculture Research excavated from the sites. The shell knife may have been Institute in 1945. However, the samples contained only land- used for harvesting rice panicles. Most of the excavated rice race names and seeds, with no record of the location or village seeds were dehulled, with the glume, palea, and lemma where they were collected. Several linguists helped identify the removed. However, many of the foxtail millet seeds were possible tribes where these landraces came from. Currently, we hulled (i.e., consisting of the glume). have good information for about ten landraces. From these findings, we can modify some of the points of These 60 rice landraces show wide variation in pheno- TPK culture addressed by Chang (1969; 1989): type, including grain size, plant size and architecture, above- 1. TPK is the oldest Neolithic cultural horizon found to ground biomass, heading habitat, and drought tolerance. date in Taiwan, and it began around 3,000 BC. Figure 3 illustrates the phenotype of several plant types 2. The subsistence base was hunting, fishing, and farming. and seed phenotypes. Many of them consist of awns and Cultivation of cereals mainly involved rice and foxtail partial shattering; that is, they do not exhibit the features of millet; roots and fruit were also cultivated. modern varieties. Rice (2011) 4:178–183 181 Fig. 3 Examples of the 60 rice landraces collected from aboriginal Taiwanese villages about 100 years ago. a 1–9 plant types. b Hulled and unhulled rice seeds. Studies of domestication-related rice genes Domestication involves a series of profound genetic changes resulting from selections to make wild species easier for Table 1 Domestication-related genes found in analysis of 60 rice cultivation and better for consumption. For rice domestication, landraces collected from aboriginal Taiwanese villages about 100 years the major traits altered include the following: ago 1. Grain: size, shape, color, fragrance, amylose content Gene Chromosome Trait affected References 2. Seed: shattering behavior, awn, panicle size and shape Gw2 2 Grain weight/ Song et al. (2007) 3. Plant structure: more tillers, not spread out width Gs3 3 Grain size/shape Fan et al. (2006) qSW5 5 Grain size Shomura et al. (2008) Rc 7 Pericarp color Sweeney et al. (2006) Sdr4 7 Seed dormancy Sugimoto et al. (2010) Badh2 8 Grain fragrance Bradbury et al. (2005; 2008) Qsh1 1 Grain shattering Konishi et al. (2006) Qsh4 4 Grain shattering Li et al. (2006) Sh-h 7 Grain shattering Ji et al. (2010) Waxy 6 Low amylose Yamanaka et al. (2004) content Ehd1 10 Heading date Saito et al. (2009) Hd1 6 Heading date Yano et al. (2000) Hd3a 6 Heading date Kojima et al. (2002) Hd6 3 Heading date Takahashi et al. (2001) SE5 6 Heading date Izawa et al. (2000) Fig. 4 Huge variations occurred at the domestication-related genes of the 60 rice landraces. a TILLING analysis of Ehd1 gene using 16 Ehd2 10 Heading date Matsubara et al. (2008) landraces. b Gel analysis of Hd1 gene using 16 landraces. 182 Rice (2011) 4:178–183 4. Heading or flowering: photoperiod sensitive References Using these 60 rice landraces, we worked on 16 Blust R. The Austronesian homeland: a linguistic perspective. 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