Seminar: Origin, domestication, evolution and differentiation of maize

Spring 2018 Seminar Series

Presented by the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science


The origin of maize (Zea mays spp. mays) has perplexed a number of taxonomists, botanists, geneticists, archaeologists and students of evolution since the beginning of the XIX century.

A series of models have evolved from studies privileging different approaches elected by the researcher`s main background. Theories involving a pod corn origin, the tripartite hypothesis of Mangelsdorf and Reeves, a modification of it, direct descent from teosinte and the independent origin of maize and teosinte from a common ancestor, have all been advocated. Was there once a wild maize from which maize could have been domesticated?  Where did maize domestication take place, once or several times? How did it diffuse geographically and formed races? These are crucial points which will be elaborated upon.

A large body of evidence from different scientific approaches has accumulated on our theme: genetic, cytogenetic, biomolecular and archaeological. Up to know, it has been used piecemeal. We will be piercing together, summarizing and making sense of it to complete an integrated picture of where we stand today.  


Alexander Grobman, PhD

Former Chief, National Institute of Agrarian Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture, Peru
Former Associate Director General, International Center for Tropical Agricultural Research (CIAT)
Ohio State University Alum, B.S. Agronomy, 1948