The research form Okayama University in Japan proved that people have always loved intoxication. This raised a significant question for debate. Were ancient agrarian societies motivated by human appetite for food or for alcohol?
In collaboration with Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Japan and the University of Adelaide in Australia, Okayama University identified the gene responsible for the length of barley's dormancy.
After examining 5,000 plants, they concluded that AK372829 ultimately determines the response to low oxygen and nitrogen availability. This codes the enzyme alanine aminotransferase (AlaAT), which plays a substantial role in nitrogen and carbon pathways as well as protein synthesis.
"The wild barley's long dormancy means that, initially, the grain will not germinate in response to transient moisture availability and will therefore survive hot, dry summers," according to the authors. Its natural tendency makes it a reliable food source.
Wild barley, in itself, is able to support societies by providing flour and bread, which are both great sources of energy. After domestication, barley was purposely selected to have short dormancy, according to their paper Alanine Aminotransferase Controls Seed Dormancy, in barley.
Effects of qsd1 (recessive) and Qsd1 (dominant) alleles on seed germination were tested by exposing plants to 25°C dormancy reduction treatment.
In their press release through pr web, they announced that Haruna Nijo, though having a dominant short dormancy allele (Qsd1), is of the same ancestry with long dormancy barleys. This suggests that barleys were bred until the desired result surfaced.
The same research indicated that deliberately favoring those with short dormancy that is more preferable for beer making is a sign that food source is not the motivation for agriculture. However, its effect on the flourishment of ancient agrarian societies is still in question.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which is the variation in the nucleotides, and the structure and diversity of the protein linked with short dormancy, were also investigated by the researchers.