Crops are plant species that were domesticated starting about 11,000 years ago from several centers of origin, most prominently the Fertile Crescent, East Asia, and Mesoamerica. From their domestication centers, these crops spread across the globe and had to adapt to differing environments as a result of this dispersal. We discuss broad patterns of crop spread, including the early diffusion of crops associated with the rise and spread of agriculture, the later movement via ancient trading networks, and the exchange between the Old and New Worlds over the last ∼550 years after the European colonization of the Americas. We also examine the various genetic mechanisms associated with the evolutionary adaptation of crops to their new environments after dispersal, most prominently seasonal adaptation associated with movement across latitudes, as well as altitudinal, temperature, and other environmental factors.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 75 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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