This blog provides a forum for presenting and discussing the latest findings relating to the ancient Indian Ocean, from archaeology, molecular genetics, historical linguistics and other disciplines. It takes a long-term view of the Indian Ocean region, exploring the processes that shaped its cultures, societies and environments from the Pleistocene to the historical period.

We welcome your ideas, inputs and views. Please provide news of relevent publications, conferences, meetings, and other events.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Trajectories to Malagasy Rice

As we all know Madagascar was settled by westward journeys of Austronesians, probably towards the middle of the First Millennium AD. Not surprisingly they brought rice, presumably tropical japonica from Indonesia. Interestingly, indica rice are also widely cultivated in Madgascar today. As summarized, albeit briefly, in a new article by Purugganan (The evolution of rice: molecular vignettes on its origins and spread), these japonica and indica groups are well-differentiated genetically from each other, and can be suggested to represent two waves of introduction with two separate bottlenecks. But they have also hybridized, and unique landrace races, especially from the highlands of Madagascar, appear to be of local hybrid origin. This highlights the importance of multiple episodes of plant translocation across the Indian ocean, and the, perhaps rare but highly significant, role of hybridization events in the local adaptation of crops such as rice. We look forward to the publication of further details of the Malagasy rice genetic research from NYU.

This article has now been finally published and paginated as part of a special issue on rice.


  1. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here