Contributions of Zea mays subspecies mexicana haplotypes to modern maize

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Maize was domesticated from lowland teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis), but the contribution of highland teosinte (Zea mays ssp. mexicana, hereafter mexicana) to modern maize is not clear. Here, two genomes for Mo17 (a modern maize inbred) and mexicana are assembled using a meta-assembly strategy after sequencing of 10 lines derived from a maize-teosinte cross. Comparative analyses reveal a high level of diversity between Mo17, B73, and mexicana, including three Mb-size structural rearrangements. The maize spontaneous mutation rate is estimated to be 2.17 × 10-8 ~3.87 × 10-8 per site per generation with a nonrandom distribution across the genome. A higher deleterious mutation rate is observed in the pericentromeric regions, and might be caused by differences in recombination frequency. Over 10% of the maize genome shows evidence of introgression from the mexicana genome, suggesting that mexicana contributed to maize adaptation and improvement. Our data offer a rich resource for constructing the pan-genome of Zea mays and genetic improvement of modern maize varieties.

nature communications