One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Mexican grass which is grown as fodder and is considered to be one of the parent plants of modern maize.
Zea mays subsp. mexicana, family Gramineae
- ‘In fact, teosinte is so unlike modern corn, 19th century botanists did not even consider the two to be related.’
- ‘Consequently, they will help to increase our understanding of the gene-flow process in Mexico and Central America where teosinte and maize populations grow in geographic proximity and flower synchronously.’
- ‘Yet archaeological evidence indicates that people were cultivating teosinte, the ancestor of domesticated maize, more than 7,000 years ago.’
- ‘For decades plant biologists have been arguing about whether domestic maize is really a descendant of teosinte, a Mexican grass.’
- ‘Plants grown from teosinte seeds were pollinated with maize pollen.’
- ‘Comparison of these sequences with those from modern day maize and teosinte samples confirmed modern alleles were present in Mexican maize some 4400 years ago.’
- ‘We also examine genetic variation in teosinte for several quantitative traits that differentiate maize and teosinte.’
- ‘We observed a relatively low, although significant, level of differentiation between maize and teosinte.’
- ‘Even today, the original lineage of crop corn survives in a lanky grass called teosinte, which has tiny stubs of seeds that only a botanist could love.’
- ‘In corn, for example, just five regions explain most of the difference between modern crops and wild teosinte.’
- ‘Subspecies mexicana is the teosinte that grows most commonly in maize fields and has been observed to hybridize readily with maize.’
- ‘After retirement, he did extensive genetic experiments and became convinced that a rather small number of mutations could convert teosinte into a reasonable facsimile of maize.’
Late 19th century: from French téosinté, from Nahuatl teocintli, apparently from teo:tl ‘god’ + cintli ‘dried ear of maize’.
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