Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Corn (or maize) did not have a central origin

Domestication of corn, tomatoes and potatoes is an amazing story of Stone Age people observing plants and cross-breeding similar ones to produce famine-ending eras.

“The results at first seemed contradictory, pointing in so many directions that researchers had to trace carefully to make sense of the data. As so often happens in natural history, the answer to the question of where maize was first domesticated and how it spread is that there is no one place, but several. When the genetic connections between the plants were fully mapped, researchers found multiple lineages each overlapping with teosinte to a different degree.

Given changes introduced 9,000 years ago, it is good that no anti-modification environmentalist lived then. Given the genetic modifications, modern rabid-type environmentalists should not eat corn, potatoes or tomatoes.

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