The Maize Genome

The story of the domestication of maize (Zea mays, also known as corn) is as intriguing as it is remarkable. Maize is consumed in many different forms throughout the world, from popcorn and corn flakes cereal, to masa in tortillas and cornmeal porridge in Africa, as well as being used extensively in animal feed. Understanding the maize genome will enable geneticists to develop new and improved maize varieties that are more nutritious or can withstand harsher environments. Even minor improvements in robustness, nutrition levels, and resistance to pests therefore impact people everywhere, now and in the foreseeable future. In the special poster, presented in conjunction with the first publication of the full maize genome sequence, we trace the history of modern maize (Zea mays) from its beginnings in south central Mexico as a wild grass called teosinte, from which rare mutants with desirable characteristics were selectively bred, to what is today one of the most productive and widespread crops in the world.


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