Agronomy and Horticulture, Department of


First Advisor

Jinliang Yang

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science

Major: Agronomy

Under the supervision of Professor Jinliang Yang

Lincoln, Nebraska, December 2023


Copyright 2023, Kahheetah Barnoskie


Studies on Indigenous ancestral landrace maize in North America has significant historical and scientific importance. Indigenous peoples, such as the Pawnee people, have been cultivating maize for thousands of years, resulting in diverse varieties adapted to their local environments. This study aims to deepen the knowledge of Indigenous maize by examining specific varieties from the Pawnee, including a comparative analysis of the genetic makeup through DNA sequencing. This study used Genotyping by Target Sequencing (GBTS) method to examine the genetic variation and characteristics among the multiple varieties the Pawnee people once grew historically, providing valuable information about the evolutionary history and genetic diversity within a species. By sequencing various DNA samples of maize varieties cultivated from the Pawnee people after years of selective breeding and observation in their homeland of Nebraska, we can gain insight into the genetic characteristics and understand the factors that have influenced the diversity in maize even grown within the same region by the same people. The comparison between Indigenous maize DNA and contemporary maize DNA will enable us to identify genetic variations specific to these Indigenous maize varieties. Studying the genetic diversity of Indigenous maize is consequent for conservation efforts, allowing us to identify and protect specific varieties. This research contributes to our understanding of evolutionary history and genetic relationships within the maize species.

Advisor: Jinliang Yang