Institute expertise highlighted at Rice Genetics symposium

14 November 2013

Dorian Fuller speaking at the 7th Annual International Rice Genetics symposium (Nov 2013)

Dorian Fuller was one of two invited plenary speakers at the 7th Annual International Rice Genetics symposium, held recently in the Philippines.

The event which is hosted every 4 years by the International Rice Research Institute normally involves geneticists and plant breeders but this year marked its first engagement with archaeology and archaeologists!

Dorian gave a keynote talk entitled 'Ecological and Cultural History made rice: adaptive episodes, diversification and reticulation over 8000 years' while Cristina Castillo, Research Associate on Dorian's NERC-funded Evolution of Rice project, presented a poster on 'Rice in prehistoric Thailand'.

Dorian was also interviewed by IRRI radio for a podcast discussion on the origins of rice with Cornell geneticist Susan McCouch.

Dorian's NERC-funded research project on the impact of the evolution of rice systems from China to Southeast Asia is exploring the development, diversification and spread of rice agriculture and how it impacts on the processes of human population growth, dispersal and formation of civilizations in Asia.

The project will use the archaeological history of rice and its varied forms of cultivation for a knowledge exchange and public engagement programme on the importance of science-based archaeology to help understand the role of agriculture in long-term human impact on the environment.

Dorian is also currently leading a team of researchers on the ERC-funded COMPAG project which aims to produce the first global comparative synthesis of the convergent evolution of domesticated plants and early agricultural systems based primarily on empirical archaeobotanical data.