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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering >> 2019, Volume 6, Issue 3 doi: 10.15302/J-FASE-2019266

A brief history of wheat utilization in China

. MOE Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems/College of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China.. State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Areas/College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China.. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany/Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.. CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100101, China.. School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, 36 Beaumount Street, Oxford, OX1 2PG, UK.. University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Accepted: 2019-06-25 Available online:2019-06-25

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Wheat is one of the most important crops in both China and the world, and its domestication can be traced back to ~10000 years ago. However, the history of its origin and utilization in China remains highly ambiguous. Drawing upon the most recent results of taxonomic, genetic, archeological and textual studies focused on the wheat in prehistory, this paper argues that wheat was not domesticated but introduced into China in the late fifth millennium BP. In the subsequent centuries, this exotic crop was quickly utilized as a staple food in northwest China. In contrast, it was not adopted as a staple in Central Plains until the Han Dynasty (202 BCE–220 CE), which was mainly as a consequence of the living environment, population and innovations in food processing technology.

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