Genetics and the Morphological Evolution of Maize

  • John Doebley
Part of the Springer Lab Manuals book series (SLM)


Maize (Zea mays L. ssp. mays) and its nearest wild relatives, the teosintes (Zea spp.), differ profoundly in both vegetative and inflorescence architecture. Nevertheless, maize and the Mexican annual teosintes (Z. mays ssp. parviglumis and ssp. mexicana) are members of the same biological species (Iltis and Doebley 1980). These teosintes and maize form fully fertile hybrids with normal meiosis and chromosome pairing (Beadle 1932; Wilkes 1967). Differences in chromosome morphology of maize and Mexican annual teosinte are no greater than those within maize itself (Kato 1976; Smith et al. 1982). Moreover, isozymes of maize and Mexican annual teosinte are encoded by the same suite of genes, and allelic constitutions at these genes show no greater differentiation between maize and Mexican annual teosinte (especially ssp. parviglumis) than exists among the races of maize themselves (Doebley et al. 1984, 1987a). Finally, the chloroplast genomes of maize and some Mexican annual teosintes are identical in their restriction endonuclease maps (Timothy et al. 1979; Doebley et al. 1987b).


Female Inflorescence Abscission Layer Lateral Inflorescence Sessile Spikelet Outer Glume 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1994

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  • John Doebley

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