Teosinte as a model system for population and ecological genomics
As the cost of next-generation sequencing diminishes and genomic resources improve, crop wild relatives are well positioned to make major contributions to the field of ecological genomics via full-genome resequencing and reference-assisted de novo assembly of genomes of plants from natural populations. The wild relatives of maize, collectively known as teosinte, are a more varied and representative study system than many other model flowering plants. In this review of the population and ecological genomics of the teosintes we highlight recent advances in the study of maize domestication, introgressive hybridization, and local adaptation, and discuss future prospects for applying the genomic resources of maize to this intriguing group of species. The maize/teosinte study system is an excellent example of how crops and their wild relatives can bridge the model/non-model gap.