FSU Maize Tour

Many of you are hopefully enjoying barbeques this summer and I bet one of your favorites is corn on the cob. Well, we have a story that will change the way you look at corn forever, so open your ears for today's Feature at Five.

Welcome to the land of mutant maize where it seems almost any size, shape and form of corn is possible!

Eric Jones, an FSU biology graduate student, says, “All of these are corn but they're all different, whether it’s the color, leaves, or they grow flat on the ground.”

The a- “maize”-ing display is operated by FSU's Biology Department. Professor Hank Bass says he and his students have planted single gene mutants of corn to illustrate genetic control of growth and development.

“Some people may look at this and say awe shucks, but this is actually a mutant stalk of corn called a necrotic, and believe it or not, it's healthy and it’s supposed to look this way. Some people eat this; it’s a delicacy in some parts of the world.”

The goal of the project is threefold; one, to teach K-12 students about genetics, two, to improve corn nutritionally

Dr. Hank Bass says, “And also there's and increasing desire for bio-renewable fuel and corn starch can be used to make ethanol, and it’s being added to the gasoline supply.”

This research is part of a $1.5 million, four-year project that will eventually expand to a larger cornfield in Quincy in 2006.


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