Maize adaptation to novel environments
All organisms must contend with rapidly changing environments in the face of climate change in order to ensure the survival of the population. Domesticated plants, with a 10,000-year history of adapting to new environments, provide an excellent model for understanding genetic responses to changing climates as well as domestication genetics. Maize (Zea mays ssp. mays), a globally critical crop plant with extensive genomic resources, was domesticated from the tropical American grass teosinte (Zea mays spp. parviglumis). Although maize demographics during domestication and improvement were not straightforward., populations fluctuated as people moved maize into increasingly novel environments, resulting in a wide variety of adaptations to different environments in a short period of time. Maize has a complex demographic and archaeological samples represent a unique opportunity to directly sample ancient diversity and to evaluate allelic combinations not present in extant samples in the context of changing environments.