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Genetics. 2005 Apr;169(4):2241-54. Epub 2005 Jan 31.

Genetic diversity and population structure of teosinte.

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Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 53706, USA.


The teosintes, the closest wild relatives of maize, are important resources for the study of maize genetics and evolution and for plant breeding. We genotyped 237 individual teosinte plants for 93 microsatellites. Phylogenetic relationships among species and subspecific taxa were largely consistent with prior analyses for other types of molecular markers. Plants of all species formed monophyletic clades, although relationships among species were not fully resolved. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the Mexican annual teosintes divide into two clusters that largely correspond to the previously defined subspecies, Z. mays ssp. parviglumis and ssp. mexicana, although there are a few samples that represent either evolutionary intermediates or hybrids between these two subspecies. The Mexican annual teosintes show genetic substructuring along geographic lines. Hybridization or introgression between some teosintes and maize occurs at a low level and appears most common with Z. mays ssp. mexicana. Phylogeographic and phylogenetic analyses of the Mexican annual teosintes indicated that ssp. parviglumis diversified in the eastern part of its distribution and spread from east to west and that ssp. mexicana diversified in the Central Plateau of Mexico and spread along multiple paths to the north and east. We defined core sets of collections of Z. mays ssp. mexicana and ssp. parviglumis that attempt to capture the maximum number of microsatellite alleles for given sample sizes.

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