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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Mar 1, 1993; 90(5): 1997–2001.

Evolution of maize inferred from sequence diversity of an Adh2 gene segment from archaeological specimens.


A segment of the nuclear gene encoding alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (Adh2) was amplified and sequenced from extracts of archaeological maize specimens up to 4700 years old and from contemporary samples. Sequence diversity in ancient maize equals that of contemporary maize. Some ancient Adh2 alleles are identical or closely related to contemporary alleles. The data suggest that the gene pool of maize is millions of years old and that domestic races of maize stem from several wild ancestral populations.

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