A European perspective on maize history

C R Biol. 2011 Mar;334(3):221-8. doi: 10.1016/j.crvi.2010.12.015. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


Maize was domesticated at least 8700 years ago in the highlands of Mexico. Genome-wide studies have greatly contributed to shed light into the diffusion of maize through the Americas from its center of origin. Also the presence of two European introductions in southern and northern Europe is now established. Such a spread was accompanied by an extreme diversification, and adaptation to the long days and low temperatures of temperate climates has been a key step in maize evolution. Linkage mapping and association mapping have successfully led to the identification of a handful set of the genetic factors that have contributed to maize adaptation, opening the way to new discoveries. Ultimately, these alleles will contribute to sustain breeding efforts to meet the new challenges raised by the evolution of mankind.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Alleles
  • Americas
  • Breeding
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Europe
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Plant
  • History, 15th Century
  • History, 16th Century
  • Humans
  • Mexico
  • Selection, Genetic
  • West Indies
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / history*


  • DNA, Plant