Mystery of edible Corn: A single base mutation
About 9000 years ago in Mexico, humans domesticated corn from the wild grass teosinte, whose kernels were covered by a tough shell, making them unpalatable to humans. For decades, scientists have studied how the wild maize could have been transformed into the plant we now eat, eventually zeroing in on the gene, known as tga1, that regulates other genes involved in producing the kernels’ casing. Now, a new study in Genetics has compared corn and teosinte further and found that a single DNA base swap — from C to G —in tga1 triggered the creation of the soft, uncovered kernels over the next few thousand years. The findings show how selections made by ancient plant breeders initiated minor genetic changes that allowed corn to evolve into the familiar cob we have today.
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Evidence that the origin of naked kernels during maizedomestication was caused by a single amino acid substitution in tga1
The news was published at Science Magazine News on 14th July, 2015