Sexual transmutation and the origin of maize

Of significance to understanding the assemblage and affiliation of secondary sex genes is an enhancer gene for single spikelets that has been discovered in crosses with Cuzco flour corn. This modifier gene raises the level of single spikelet penetrance by extending its phenotype to the male spikelets in the maize tassel. Is one to conclude that the maize tassel came from the teosinte ear? Not unless one believes in the transmutations of Iltis. If the teosinte ear is not the precursor of the maize ear as claimed by Iltis, how then is it possible to genetically transfer the phenotype of single female spikelets from teosinte to both the maize ear and maize tassel? Also of importance is the fact that teosinte tassels that are feminized by any of the known tassel-seed genes or by environmental conditions have solitary female spikelets enclosed in indurate cupulate fruit cases rather than Tehuacan type ears as expected by Iltis. No transmutation of the Iltis type has ever been found to segregate from maize-teosinte hybrids. Only specific genes controlling the key traits separating teosinte and maize are found in their segregations.

Walton C. Galinat

Please Note: Notes submitted to the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter may be cited only with consent of the authors.

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