Corn has benefited from human’s selection process annually for the past 10000 years. This has occurred over multiple environments with preference towards stability of desired characteristics of the grain. This usually led towards increase in grain storage of starch. With the realization of value of hybrids between parents from unique heritage, the combination of those genetics added to the greater grain yield. Combinations of 30000 genes from both parents creates a stability in multiple environments.
Genetics affecting root size and direction, essential to water and mineral uptake for the plant is also influenced by genetics affecting efficiency of transport of carbohydrates from the leaves to supply energy for the growth. Volume of carbohydrates produced in leaves is influenced by multiple genes affecting leaf size and intracellular dynamics. Even resistance to most leaf diseases involves 3-4 genes directly limiting the pathogen.
Genetics affect the timing of the production of pollen and emergence of female stigmata (silk). Genes contribute to movement of water to the ovules for extension of the silk from the leaves surrounding the ear shoot. Number of ovules, potential size of endosperms, quantity and strength of hormones causing the flow of carbohydrates to the pollinated ovules is affected by genes.
All of these genes are selected for stability under multiple environments, some with annual extremes of mineral, water and sunlight supplies. Multiple genes contribute to stable performance of successful corn hybrids.
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.