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Knowledge of the identities and characteristics of genes that govern the dramatic phenotypic differences between cultivated plants and their wild ancestors has greatly enhanced our understanding of the domestication process. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Sigmon & Vollbrecht report the discovery of a new maize domestication gene, ramosa1, which encodes a putative transcription factor in the ramosa developmental pathway. Ramosa1 appears to be instrumental in determining the straightness of kernel rows on the maize cob. The key domestication alleles at ramosa1 are prevalent in landraces of maize. These results reinforce findings from previous studies of crop evolution by highlighting the importance of standing genetic variation and changes in transcriptional regulators in domestication. The evolutionary genetics of domestication also provides a framework for predicting the evolutionary response of organisms to strong human-induced selection pressures over limited time intervals.