Geeking Science: That Corny DNA

Nine thousand years ago someone on this side of the pond decided that some wild grass looked tasty. Tasty enough to plant in a controlled manner. Again, and again, and again. For generations.
They passed this plant from what is now southwestern Mexico to neighbors north and south of them. Various paths crossed and recrossed during the domestication process. Now DNA is being used to unlock the convoluted history.
Historic DNA isn’t easy to work with. DNA starts breaking down once the living thing that the sequence programmed is no longer living. If you like puzzles, DNA assembly for history might be for you. Using data from 30 sources, scientists got three which could be sequenced after two years work.
Why I am Geeking about this is the DNA being used to trace lineage. Looking at plants gives us insight into land-use and trading. As more and more DNA is added to the historic databases, we can trace diseases (plants and humans), trade across continents, and climate changes.
“Ancient DNA Continues to Rewrite Corn’s 9,000-Year Society-Shaping History. Smithsonian Press Release. 2020 December 14. (last viewed 4/6/2022)
Malsbury, Erin. “How Ancient DNA Unearths Corn’s A-maize-ing History.” Smithsonian Magazine. 2020 December 14. (last viewed 4/6/2022)