Maize leads the world’s cereals after wheat and rice in terms of cultivated area, because of its economic importance for the production of both food purposes and raw materials for industry. The maize genus Zea L. belonging to the family of cereals (Poaceae or Graminaceae) includes six species. However, all cultivated maize belongs specifically to Zea mays L. subsp. mays (2n = 2× = 20) is the only cultivated species of the genus Zea L., and the remaining species of this genus are mostly wild herbaceous plants. In addition to meeting the nutritional needs of the world’s population, Zea mays L. is one of the classic model objects of genetic and physiological research, as well as in the field of breeding not only cereals but also other important agricultural plants. Especially, this model object has been used in genetic mapping of loci of quantitative traits and genes associated with economically valuable traits, such as yield, resistance to diseases and pests, grain quality, etc. in cereal crops.
Part of the book: Model Organisms in Plant Genetics