Did pre-Columbian human populations leave their mark on the genetic structure of palm species?

Science / Life Sciences

As we selected the most eye-catching, sweet, and juicy fruits at the market, indigenous peoples did the same. Over many years of scattering seeds along their paths, they may have left a mark on the DNA of plants. Could these people have inadvertently selected the best fruits? Did they plant these fruits along their migration routes? Did they plant them closer to settlements to ensure a future fruit supply? If so, indigenous people acted as ecosystem engineers, impacting the genetic and ecological diversity and structure of species. To answer these questions, the project will use the most modern molecular genetics techniques and archaeological data from the migration routes of the Guarani people. We will study the DNA of iconic palm trees, attempting to explain how the interaction between humans and plants might have generated and maintained plant species diversity in tropical regions.

Amount invested

Grant Serrapilheira: R$ 333.000,00