The recombinant of two different double rowing pathways quadruples the kernel row number per ear (spike) during the domestication of maize from teosinte --Galinat, WC The importance of my 1992 cross-sectional drawing of spikelets and spikes during the first recombinant jump of teosinte domestication toward maize has been recognized by others (Fig. 2 below).

Although the selection that transformed teosinte into maize was probably deliberate domestication for increased food supply, some of the selection may have been unconscious because the more productive seed ears would contribute more progeny (Galinat. 1995:The origin of maize: Grain of humanity. Economic Botany 49:3-12).

Figure 2.  The transformation of teosinte into corn:
Here you see, how two kinds of four-rowed teosinte,
became the key, to cornís pedigree
from their hybrid one morn, the first corn was born,
as an amazing creation from recombination.

The diagrams represent: (a) the ancestral teosinte; (b)a four rowed mutant teosinte from two ranks of paired spikelets; (c) a four rowed mutant teosinte from four ranks of single spikelets; (d)The double mutant teosinte derived from the hybrid is eight-rowed corn.

The cupules with spikelets are from two successive nodes, with the lower ones in surface view. The upper ones are shown in solid black from cross sections revealing some details of rachillae, spikelets, and kernels. The single spikelets are illustrated in a more reflexed position than normal in order to reveal their sessile condition, in contrast with the pedicelate spikelet activated as a key corn trait.

The art work shown above on the two morphological pathways of teosinte transformation leading to maize is from my original balanced representation while the caption is directly from the published paper (Galinat, W.C.1992 Corn, Columbus, and Culture. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 36:1-12). The art work as published became unbalanced because the truly great editor, Richard L. Landau, had to condense the spacing between items to obtain more room for my poem, sent in late after the page proofs were already printed.

Epilog to figure 2, Corn, Columbus and Culture.

Here you see how art and poetry

became the communication key

to render information on recombination

between mutants of teosinte

in the amazing creation of maize.

It is tragic that editors of most scientific journals and their reviewers deplore and often refuse combinations of art and poetry in their publications. The general public knows that art and poetry are the best tools for communication.


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

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