Ask someone to tell you where they think rice was domesticated for agriculture and they will probably tell you Asia. Modern global consumption of rice is dominated by Asian and African rice, but research just published in Nature Ecology and Evolution shows that rice was also domesticated in the Amazon 4000 years ago. However, don't expect to see Amazonian rice as a new superfood any time soon. European contact in 1492 and the subsequent devastation to native populations and cultures has led to this domesticated variety returning to the wild.
The development of agriculture is one of humankind’s most pivotal achievements. Questions about plant domestication and the origins of agriculture have engaged scholars for well over a century, with implications for understanding its legacy on global subsistence strategies, plant distribution, population health and the global methane budget. Rice is one of the most important crops to be domesticated globally, with both Asia (Oryza sativa L.) and Africa (Oryza glaberrima Steud.) discussed as primary centres of domestication. However, until now the pre-Columbian domestication of rice in the Americas has not been documented.