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MAIZE Project - Genetics Home

Maize Diversity

The Genetics of Maize

People have used corn for thousands of years and selected many different kinds of corn. Learn about the genetics of this crop from ancient to modern times.

  • Ancestors of maize
    • Where did corn originate and what is its closest wild relative? What genetic changes occurred during corn's domestication?
  • Diversity of maize
    • Maize has many variations, developed over hundreds or even thousands of years. What does this diversity look like and why did people select for different maize varieties?
  • Maize Genetic Conservation
    • The genetic diversity (germplasm) of maize is important for developing new desirable traits and protecting crops against new pests and diseases. Where are these genetic resources stored?
  • Active areas of maize genetics research
    • Scientists now know the entire DNA sequence of maize. Where is genetic research going now?
  • Controversies in maize genetics
    • Molecular techniques allowed geneticists to develop maize varieties with traits introduced from genes from different species (GMOs). What are the controversies concerning genetically modified maize?