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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Matsuoka, Yoshihi, Ro
item Vigouroux, Yves
item Goodman, Major
item Sanchez, G.
item Buckler, Edward - Ed
item Doebley, John

Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2002
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: This is the largest ever study of maize diversity. It indicates that maize is the product of a single domestication, and it most likely occurred in the Mexican highlands. Molecular clock estimate that it occurred with the last 9000 years. Plant breeders will be abl3 to us the details of this study to determine, what germplasm might be useful for breeding specific traits and how various germplasm is related to one another.

Technical Abstract: Most domesticated plant and animal species originated during a brief period between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago. During this time, many crops and animals were domesticated multiple times idependently, examples including rice, common bean, millet, cotton, squash, cattle, sheep and goat. Like these, maize (Zea mays ssp. mays) has been considered by some to be the product of multiple independent domestications because of the remarkable diversity that exists within it. Here, we report phylogenetic analyses which indicate that all maize traces back to a single domestication event in southern Mexico less that 9,000 years ago. Thus the remarkable diversity in maize must be attributed to factors other than multiple domestications. Our results also suggest that the oldest surviving forms of maize are those of the Mexican highlands and that maize spread from this region along one path into northern Mexico, the southwestern USA and the eastern USA, and along a second path to the lowlands of Mexico, Central America, South America and the Andes Mountains.

Last Modified: 09/23/2017
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