Five major cereals such as wheat, rice, maize, barley and sorghum were among the first Neolithic crops that facilitated the establishment of the early agricultural societies. Since then they have remained the staple source of calories for the majority of the human population. Ample archaeological and molecular evidence has provided important insights into the domestication history of cereals but the debates on the origin of cereal crops are still far from resolved. Here, we review the recent advances in applying genome sequencing technologies for deciphering the history of cereal domestication. As a model example, we demonstrate that the evolution of thoughts on barley domestication closely followed the development of views on the rise of agriculture in the Near East in general and greatly accelerated with the advent of the genomic technologies and resources available for barley research.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.