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Corn Essay

1807 words - 7 pages

Spanish chroniclers of the same period also collaborate the importance of maize in Andean culture. During harvest time, their were large celebrations were maize were carried to homes, while people sang and prayed for the longevity of the plant (Bonavia, 2013, p. 224). They had a three day ceremony were they ate and drank and watched over what they called Mama Zara which translates to Mother of Maize (Bonavia, 2013, p. 224). The best of the ears where said to be wrapped in the finest blankets that the family had (Bonavia, 2013, p. 224). According to the analyze done by Finucane and a number his colleagues of collagen in humans and animal skeletons showed that maize was the main component of diet of people in the Huari Empire from 550- 10000 AD (Finucane, Agurto, & Isbell, 2006). This dates the consumption of maize in the Andean region to pre-ceramics times. He went on to say that maize was the staple that supported both urban and rural populations(Finucane, Agurto, & Isbell, 2006). Corn has been a mainstay in Latin American culture and cuisine up until present day. Generations have grown, cultivated, and used corn for sustenance, rituals, celebrations, and a variety of other practices (Staller, 2010).
Maize shares 90% of its genome with its wild progenitor teosinte. The remaining 10% contain genes vital to teosinte survival in the wild (Bonavia, 2013, p. 246). However; maize varies substantially from teosinte morphologically. The main physical differences between the two are as follows:
1. The ear of teosinte is fragile and shatters, while that of domesticated corn is non-shattering.
2. Teosinte ears have two rows, while maize ears have multiple rows. Usually four or more.
3. In teosinte, only one of the two female spikelets are fertile, and in maize both spikelets are fertile.
4. In teosinte the outer glumes are hard, whereas in maize they are soft and on the outside of the plant.
5. In teosinte the glumes cover the seeds, while in maize the kernels are exposed.
6. In teosinte the kernels are embedded into the deep cupules, in maize they are not embedded that deep.
7. In teosinte the kernels are fragile, maize kernels are not.
8. Teosinte seeds are small; maize seeds can be small but are larger than teosinte seeds.
place under domestication.
9. In teosinte the primary lateral inflorescence are long and usually male, while in
maize the primary lateral inflorescence are female and short. (Bonavia, 2013, p. 34)
According Fedoroff, the main difference between the two plants can be linked back to 5 or 6 regions in their genomes; and the morphological differences are caused by alternate alleles at one gene, tb1 and tga1 (Fedoroff, 2003). The teosinte branched 1 (tb1) protein acts as a repressor of organ growth, and which contributes to apical dominance by preventing branching (Fedoroff, 2003). Furthermore, research has shown that maize tb1 is expressed more frequently than teosinte version, thereby furthering...

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