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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Plant Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #337041

Research Project: Genetics and Genomics of Complex Traits in Grain Crops

Location: Plant Genetics Research

Title: Maize kernel evolution: From teosinte to maize

Author
item Flint-garcia, Sherry

Submitted to: CAB International United Kingdom
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/25/2017
Publication Date: 11/30/2017
Citation: Flint Garcia, S.A. 2017. Maize kernel evolution: From teosinte to maize. CAB International United Kingdom. In: Larkins, B., editor. Maize Kernel Development. Oxfordshire, UK. CAB International United Kingdom. p. 1-15.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Maize is the most productive and highest value commodity in the US and around the world: over 1 billion tons were produced each year in 2013 and 2014. Together, maize, rice and wheat comprise over 60% of the world’s caloric intake, with wide regional variability in the importance of each crop. The importance of maize in terms of both production and caloric intake is not a recent development. In fact, Native Americans have relied on maize and its ancestor for more than 9000 years. The Columbian exchange allowed maize to spread around the world, to adapt to new environments and fill its current role as a major crop feeding large proportions of the world’s population. Maize, and the kernel in particular, has undergone dramatic changes over the past 9000 years. The biology of seed size, starch, protein, and oil content, and food characteristics are reviewed in other chapters of this book. The purpose of this chapter is to review the evolution of the maize from teosinte (the wild ancestor) to landraces (locally-adapted, open-pollinated farmer’s varieties) to modern maize (inbreds and hybrids), discuss the role of kernel composition and size during kernel evolution, and outline questions regarding the consequences of kernel evolution and future directions.