Mystery of edible Corn: A single base mutation

We always discuss about the power of single base mutation to understand the molecular mechanism of genetic disease. For example, a single base mutation at position 6 of beta-globin gene results valine instead of glutamic acid residue. On the mean time, such a powerful example of single base mutation for plants are limited in our text books. That's why I've decided to bring a profound example of single base mutation in plants and how it had changed the human history. 

The genetic tweak that left corn kernels naked and delicious

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 (teosinte glume architecture1) 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.

For the original article follow the link below:

The news was published at Science Magazine News on 14th July, 2015


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