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Rice was first farmed in China 9400 years ago

AP

Scientists have argued for years about when rice, which now feeds more than half of the world's population, was first domesticated. A new study suggests hunter-gatherers in China started growing the grain there more than 9,000 years ago.

Why it's important: Domesticating crops was one of humans' most innovative moves. We selected for traits and put pressures on the evolution of crops that we're still trying to understand and unravel, in hopes of a) learning how civilizations arose and b) improving modern crops by potentially re-introducing wild traits for disease-resistance or tolerance to different environments that were lost over thousands of years of selection and breeding.