1 Introduction</h5> Maize domestication began 9000 years ago in the early Holocene or late Pleistocene period. Archeological and genetic data suggests that the domestication processes proceeded in the central Balsas River valley in Mexico. Genetic studies have pointed to Zea mays ssp. parviglumis , commonly known as Balsas teosinte, to be the wild ancestor of modern corn ( Doebley, 2004 ). Due to human selection for favorable food and seed traits, the domestication process has led to altered shoot architecture of Balsas teosinte and modification of the reproductive organs ( Doebley, 2004 ).</P>Crop breeding traditionally puts emphasis on above-ground traits; however, below ground properties are equally important. The root system explores the soil to scavenge nutrients and water, thus root system architecture greatly influences how efficiently a plant acquires resources in a given environment ( Pierret et al., 2007; Badri and Vivanco, 2009 ). Comparing a greater and a lesser yielding corn varieties Qi et al. (2012) found the greater yield potential to be associated with faster root growth and a larger root system which likely provides more water and nutrients to the shoot. Similarly, based on a modeling approach Hammer et al. (2009) found that changes in
Soil Biology and Biochemistry – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2015
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