Of genes and genomes and the origin of maize

Trends Genet. 1998 Aug;14(8):327-32. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(98)01524-8.


The crop plant maize (corn) is remarkably dissimilar to its recent wild ancestor, teosinte, making it an extremely interesting model for the study of evolution. Investigations into the evolution of maize are currently being performed at the molecular and morphological levels. Three independent lines of research are poised to shed light on the molecular basis of this spectacular transformation: (1) determining the structure and origin of the maize genome; (2) understanding the role of transposable elements in maize evolution; and (3) elucidating the genetic basis for morphological differences between maize and its wild ancestor teosinte.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Edible Grain / anatomy & histology
  • Edible Grain / genetics
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genome, Plant
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Polyploidy
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Retroelements
  • Zea mays / anatomy & histology
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • Retroelements