Re: NANFA-- Genetically Modified Corn and its effect on the

Sajjad Lateef (
Mon, 9 Sep 2002 08:26:08 -0700 (PDT)

--- Wally Billingham <> wrote:
> I remember learning in school a LONG time ago that scientists could
> not find
> the "wild" form of corn, was this information incorrect or by wild do
> you
> just mean old heirloom varieties?

I am catching up on email this Monday morning. So, sorry
for the delay.

Corn, as you might know, is a native grain of Mexico. It was
originally developed by Mexican farmers from native grasses
into a viable food crop. I am not sure how many years ago
was corn bred into it's current form, but, it would be
hundreds of years.

Of course, the native grasses (cultivars) whose pollen
(germplasm) was originally used to produce corn (and
the close relatives of those native grasses) are what I refer
to as the "wild population" of corn.

I do not know if scientists have been unable to locate the
cultivars that are the basis of modern corn. It's a difficult
job. For example, my father found some wild varities of lentils
growing on the Oregonian coastal mountains (lentils are usually
sub-tropical/tropical plants).

Hierloom varieties simply are older variants of modern breeds.
Hierloom corn will be still recognized as corn by lay-people
like me.

A wild variety of corn would be in the 'hey, that's a neat
looking plant' category. I am sure that several of you have
seen native prarie grasses which sorta look like oat or
wheat plants


ps: Lots of wildflowers blooming in the local remaining
sections of prairie (little sunflowers, goldenrod,etc. ).
They're awesome.


Sajjad Lateef
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