Skip to Main Content
Ancient humans influenced the current spatial genetic structure of common walnut populations in AsiaAuthor(s): Paola Pollegioni; Keith E. Woeste; Francesca Chiocchini; Stefano Del Lungo; Irene Olimpieri; Virginia Tortolano; Jo Clark; Gabriel E. Hemery; Sergio Mapelli; Maria Emilia Malvolti; Gyaneshwer Chaubey
Source: PLOS ONE. 10(9): e0135980.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (3.71 MB)
DescriptionCommon walnut (Juglans regia L) is an economically important species cultivated worldwide for its wood and nuts. It is generally accepted that J. regia survived and grew spontaneously in almost completely isolated stands in its Asian native range after the Last Glacial Maximum. Despite its natural geographic isolation, J. regia evolved over many centuries under the influence of human management and exploitation. We evaluated the hypothesis that the current distribution of natural genetic resources of common walnut in Asia is, at least in part, the product of ancient anthropogenic dispersal, human cultural interactions, and afforestation. Genetic analysis combined with ethno-linguistic and historical data indicated that ancient trade routes such as the Persian Royal Road and Silk Road enabled long-distance dispersal of J. regia from Iran and Trans-Caucasus to Central Asia, and from Western to Eastern China. Ancient commerce also disrupted the local spatial genetic structure of autochthonous walnut populations between Tashkent and Samarkand (Central-Eastern Uzbekistan), where the northern and central routes of the Northern Silk Road converged. A significant association between ancient language phyla and the genetic structure of walnut populations is reported even after adjustment for geographic distances that could have affected both walnut gene flow and human commerce over the centuries. Beyond the economic importance of common walnut, our study delineates an alternative approach for understanding how the genetic resources of long-lived perennial tree species may be affected by the interaction of geography and human history.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationPollegioni, Paola; Woeste, Keith E.; Chiocchini, Francesca; Del Lungo, Stefano; Olimpieri, Irene; Tortolano, Virginia; Clark, Jo; Hemery, Gabriel E.; Mapelli, Sergio; Malvolti, Maria Emilia; Chaubey, Gyaneshwer. 2015. Ancient humans influenced the current spatial genetic structure of common walnut populations in Asia. PLOS ONE. 10(9): e0135980.
- Rethinking the history of common walnut (Juglans regia L.) in Europe: Its origins and human interactions
- Long term human impacts on genetic structure of Italian walnut inferred by SSR markers
- Managing black walnut in natural stands: the human dimension
XML: View XML