Biologist traces coconut's history through DNA

losely related to Pacific populations, he said. Both historically and today, this palm has myriad uses as source of food, drink, and fuel. Every part of the plant is used, and recently coconut oil has been manufactured into bio-diesel in the Pacific, Olsen said.

He added that more than 11 million hectares (one hectare is equal to 100 acres) are now planted in coconut in 86 tropical countries.

Olsen will study the phylogeography of C. nucifera and its ancient dispersal; the geographical origin(s) of domestication; the impact of human activities in homogenizing population structure across the species range; and the possible geographical location of the undomesticated wild progenitor populations.


Contact: Kenneth M. Olsen
Washington University in St. Louis

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