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  1. The origins of maize were the topic of vigorous debate for nearly a century, but neither the current genetic model nor earlier archaeological models account for the totality of available data, and recent work has highlighted the potential contribution of a wild relative,Zea maysssp.mexicana. Our population genetic analysis reveals that the origin of modern maize can be traced to an admixture between ancient maize andZea maysssp.mexicanain the highlands of Mexico some 4000 years after domestication began. We show that variation in admixture is a key component of maize diversity, both at individual loci and for additive genetic variation underlying agronomic traits. Our results clarify the origin of modern maize and raise new questions about the anthropogenic mechanisms underlying dispersal throughout the Americas.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The Africanized honey bee (AHB) is a New World amalgamation of several subspecies of the western honey bee (Apis mellifera), a diverse taxon historically grouped into four major biogeographic lineages: A (African), M (Western European), C (Eastern European), and O (Middle Eastern). In 1956, accidental release of experimentally bred “Africanized” hybrids from a research apiary in Sao Paulo, Brazil initiated a hybrid species expansion that now extends from northern Argentina to northern California (U.S.A.). Here, we assess nuclear admixture and mitochondrial ancestry in 60 bees from four countries (Panamá; Costa Rica, Mexico; U.S.A) across this expansive range to assess ancestry of AHB several decades following initial introduction and test the prediction that African ancestry decreases with increasing latitude. We find that AHB nuclear genomes from Central America and Mexico have predominately African genomes (76%–89%) with smaller contributions from Western and Eastern European lineages. Similarly, nearly all honey bees from Central America and Mexico possess mitochondrial ancestry from the African lineage with few individuals having European mitochondria. In contrast, AHB from San Diego (CA) shows markedly lower African ancestry (38%) with substantial genomic contributions from all four major honey bee lineages and mitochondrial ancestry from all four clades as well. Genetic diversity measures from all New World populations equal or exceed those of ancestral populations. Interestingly, the feral honey bee population of San Diego emerges as a reservoir of diverse admixture and high genetic diversity, making it a potentially rich source of genetic material for honey bee breeding.

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