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Journal of Botany
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 104172, 10 pages
Review Article

Genome Diversity in Maize

1DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology, Experimental Station, P.O. Box 80353, Wilmington, DE 19880-0353, USA
2Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., A DuPont Company, 7300 NW 62nd Avenue, P.O. Box 1004, Johnston, IA 50131-1004, USA

Received 27 April 2011; Accepted 7 July 2011

Academic Editor: Simon Hiscock

Copyright © 2011 Victor Llaca et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Zea mays (maize) has historically been used as a model species for genetics, development, physiology and more recently, genome structure. The maize genome is complex with striking intraspecific variation in gene order, repetitive DNA content, and allelic content exceeding the levels observed between primate species. Maize genome complexity is primarily driven by polyploidization and explosive amplification of LTR retrotransposons, with the counteracting effect of unequal and illegitimate crossover. Transposable elements have been shown to capture genic content, create chimeras, and amplify those sequences via transposition. New sequencing platforms and hybridization-based strategies have appeared over the past decade which are being applied to maize and providing the first genome-wide comprehensive view of structural variation and will provide the basis for investigating the interplay between repeats and genes as well as the amount of species level diversity within maize.