The corn kernel is a fruit. Grains are fruits with a single seed enclosed. The ovary wall, part of the female plant, grows after pollination results in enlargement of the single embryo it encloses. The ovary wall thus becomes the pericarp. Genetics of the pericarp cells are those of the female plant and therefore the genetics of the female inbred parent in hybrid seed production or both hybrid parents in the grain field.
These genetics influence the important cell wall components that give both strength and resistance against insect and fungal invaders. Cell walls get their strength from various polymers that are cross-linked. Whereas non-grass species tend to have more lignin chemistry in cell walls than those in grasses and especially the pericarp features less lignin and more of a class of complex compounds called xylan. A major component of these xylan compounds is feruloyic acid. Feruloyic acid is associated with resistance to Maize weevil damage to corn kernels (Crop Sci. 44:1546–1552 (2004). Varieties differ in chemical components of pericarp cell walls that probably influence many aspects of corn grain storage. https://www.frontiersin.org/files/Articles/219955/fpls-07-01476-HTML/image_m
The female parent of a corn seed is the sole genetic source for the pericarp, mitochondria and chloroplasts as well as half of each diploid chromosome.
About Corn Journal
The purpose of this blog is to share perspectives of the biology of corn, its seed and diseases in a mix of technical and not so technical terms with all who are interested in this major crop. With more technical references to any of the topics easily available on the web with a search of key words, the blog will rarely cite references but will attempt to be accurate. Comments are welcome but will be screened before publishing. Comments and questions directed to the author by emails are encouraged.