Evolutionary consequences of traditional plant management of weedy field mustard in Mexico

McALVAY, Alex – Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robert BYE – Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Eve EMSHWILLER – Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison

We revisit a potential model system for evolution under traditional resource management: introduced field mustard (Brassica rapa L. Brassicaceae) in Latin America. With this system, we investigate whether various subsistence activities exert artificial selection on otherwise wild or weedy edible plants. Field mustard differs from commonly used systems in that it has abundant genomic resources and a short life-cycle, allowing for inferentially powerful research designs. We will discuss our integration of genetic, chemical, ethnographic, and morphometric analyses to address questions about the origins, ethnobotany, and human-induced selection of Mexican B. rapa. These efforts will focus on plants managed in Rarámuri, Tzotzil, and Mestizo communities, where field mustard has been incorporated into preexisting traditional management regimes and melded with post-colonial management practices. We expect this research to have implications for understanding subtle forms of anthropogenic diversity, mechanistic facets of domestication, and the formation of new management practices around newly encountered flora.