How corn's ancient ancestor swipes left on crossbreeding

Determining how one species becomes distinct from another has been a subject of fascination dating back to Charles Darwin. New research led by Carnegie's Matthew Evans and published in Nature Communications elucidates the ...

New approach to stem soil erosion

Topsoil and nutrient runoff are two serious challenges of sustainable agriculture. Perennial crops can help solve these problems by preserving cropland productivity without requiring substantial dietary and manufacture shifts. ...

Tiny genetic tweak unlocked corn kernels during domestication

If not for a single genetic mutation, each kernel on a juicy corn cob would be trapped inside a inedible casing as tough as a walnut shell. The mutation switches one amino acid for another at a specific position in a protein ...

Greenhouse 'time machine' sheds light on corn domestication

A grass called teosinte is thought to be the ancestor of corn, but it doesn't look much like corn at all. Smithsonian scientists were surprised to find that teosinte planted in growth chambers under climate conditions that ...

Jumping gene enabled key step in corn domestication

Corn split off from its closest relative teosinte, a wild Mexican grass, about 10,000 years ago thanks to the breeding efforts of early Mexican farmers. Today it's hard to tell that the two plants were ever close kin: Corn ...

How corn came to be

(PhysOrg.com) -- Corn, as we know it, didn’t always exist. A Brigham Young University biology professor published a new study that identified the functions of a gene that may have helped transform a wild grass called ...