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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Teosinte became Maize (corn)

(Courtesy: National Science Foundation)
(Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation)
Indigenous peoples living in the lowland areas of southwestern Mexico may have cultivated corn or maize more than 8,700 years ago according to new research, this is 1500 years earlier than formerly documented. Molecular biologists recently identified a large, wild grass called Balsas teosinte as the ancestor of maize. The suppression of branching from the stalk resulted in a lower number of ears per plant but allows each ear to grow larger. The hard case around the kernel disappeared over time. Today, maize has just a few ears of corn growing on one unbranched stalk. Read more…

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