Just as experience grows experience, science leads to more science. Each new bit of knowledge of how plant cells work potentially leads to new concepts that potentially will increase our use of a corn crop. My graduate school days in the 60’s encouraged pursuit of new information about plants and fungi with the purpose of expanding knowledge, regardless of the eventual application. So-called basic research continues to be the foundation for eventual applications. Understanding DNA structure has led to many applications but it was originally driven by curiosity to understand how it works. Each bit of new understanding leads to desire to dig deeper, not always with expectation of eventual application but simply the realization that there is another level of mechanisms to be understood.
What causes the mitochondria in some corn genotypes to maintain the power to drive germination better than other genotypes? Can one change the mitochondria DNA in a manner to make it more reliable? Why are chloroplasts in some corn genotypes more productive than in other genotypes? Is it related only to its environment within the plant or are there chloroplast genetics involved. There is more to learn about the mechanisms that turn on or off resistance to corn pathogens, of mineral uptake by roots, of movement of carbohydrates within the plant before more efficient selection of better genetics can be developed.
We must not forget our dependence upon a balance between basic and applied research as science grows science. Corn is a major converter of light energy into carbohydrates and despite the thousands of years of human experience and science, basic science has more to learn. Applied science will follow.
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.