Darwin's Harvest addresses concerns that we are losing the diversity of crop plants that provide food for most of the world. With contributions from evolutionary biologists, geneticists, agronomists, molecular biologists, and anthropologists, this collection discusses how economic development, loss of heirloom varieties and wild ancestors, and modern agricultural techniques have endangered the genetic diversity needed to keep agricultural crops vital and capable of adaptation.
Drawing on the most up-to-date data, the contributors review the utilization of molecular techniques to understand crop evolution. They explore current research on various crop plants of both temperate and tropical origin, including maize, sunflower, avocado, sugarcane, and wheat. The chapters in Darwin's Harvest also provide solid background for understanding many recent discoveries concerning the origins of crops and the influence of human migration and farming practices on the genetics of our modern foods.