The greatest diversity of corn is Mexican, with 64 breeds in the country, of the 220 existing in Latin America


No country in the world is as socially, economically and culturally linked to corn as Mexico. Virtually every pre-Hispanic culture has myths associated with corn. The ancient Mexicans were very grateful to him, they knew the importance of this cereal for their sustenance and nutrition, and they honored him in many ways. This gratitude was more than deserved for the corn: did you know that the simple mixture of corn, beans, and squash gives you the necessary elements to lead a healthy life?  Or that up to 250 thousand inhabitants of Tenochtitlán were healthy basically from maize and nopal?

To classify the variations of corn that were added after the domestication of the teosinte(remember that corn does not exist as such in nature since it comes from the domestication of this grass) have been named groups known as races (each race is named after from different phenotypic characteristics).

In Latin America, about 220 maize races have been described (Goodman and McK Bird, 1977), of which 64 (29%) have been identified as Mexican (Anderson 1946, Welhausen et al., 1952, Hernández and Alanís, 1970). , Ortega 1986, Sánchez 1989, Sánchez et al. 2000). 

In no other country is the variety of corn as large as in Mexico; In a study conducted here, in 1943, by the Rockefeller Foundation, it was found, for example, that there are primitive races in other countries such as Peru. However, there they are a kind of relic, while in Mexico they continue to be used in everyday life.

The great diversity of races according to this study is mainly due to these three reasons:

  • In Mexico, primitive races continue to exist.
  • At different times in history, exotic varieties from southern countries have been registered.
  • The teosinte, from which the corn comes, has also been mixed naturally (by pollination).

It should be noted that each race can include numerous differentiated variants in ear shapes, color and grain texture, adaptations and genetic diversity.

According to a CONABIO study “Of the 64 breeds that are reported for Mexico, 59 can be considered native and 5 that were initially described in other regions (Cubano Amarillo, del Caribe, and four breeds of Guatemala -Nal Tel de Altura, Serrano , Negro from Chimaltenango and Quicheño), but which have also been collected or reported in the country. “

Every day the variety of maize increases , first by natural pollination, and also because it is a millenarian practice that farmers year after year maintain, exchange and experiment with their own seed or other neighbors of the same locality or distant regions. 

The Mexican since ancient times has experimented with corn . In a way, it has always done biotechnology, although one could not speak of transgenics like the one currently sought by large corporations, because genes of species alien to these families were never injected.

The following CONABIO poster has become very popular due to its capacity for synthesis and its aesthetic qualities: it is a way of honoring the diversity of corn, illustrating it and showing a reason of pride for all Mexicans. 

Source: masdemx

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