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The origins of coca: museum genomics reveals multiple independent domestications from progenitor Erythroxylum gracilipes

Citation

White, Dawson et al. (2020), The origins of coca: museum genomics reveals multiple independent domestications from progenitor Erythroxylum gracilipes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cvdncjt1n

Abstract

Coca is the natural source of cocaine as well as a sacred and medicinal plant farmed by South American Amerindians and mestizos. The coca crop comprises four closely related varieties classified into two species (Amazonian and Huánuco varieties within Erythroxylum coca Lam., and Colombian and Trujillo varieties within E. novogranatense (D.Morris) Hieron.) but our understanding of their wild progenitor(s) and origins remains rudimentary. In this study we use genomic data from natural history collections to estimate the geographic origins and genetic diversity of this economically and culturally important crop in the context of its wild relatives. Our phylogeographic analyses clearly demonstrate the four varieties of coca comprise two or three exclusive groups nested within the diverse lineages of the widespread, wild species E. gracilipes; establishing a new and robust hypothesis of domestication wherein coca originated two or three times from this wild progenitor. The Colombian and Trujillo coca varieties are descended from a single, ancient domestication event in northwestern South America. Huánuco coca was domesticated more recently, possibly in southeastern Peru. Amazonian coca either shares a common domesticated ancestor with Huánuco coca, or it was the product of a third and most recent independent domestication event in the western Amazon basin. This chronology of coca domestication reveals different Holocene peoples in South America were able to independently transform the same natural resource to serve their needs; in this case, a workaday stimulant.

Methods

Hybridization-based exon capture using custom probes (White et al. 2019, American Journal of Botany).

Usage Notes

Raw data are on Genbank's SRA database.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: GRFP-0907994

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1354975