Examples of two ways in which studies of corn's evolution may contribute to its breeding are given. First, the association of increased pollen grain size with increased ear length in nature indicates the necessity of maintaining this association during artificial selection for increased ear length. Second, by understanding the role of introgression (or flow of germplasm from corn's wild relatives, teosinte andTripsacum), we might be able to increase our pool of germplasm and be able to control combining ability, as used in hybrid corn breeding. The use of experimentally controlled introgression obtained directly from teosinte andTripsacum to further improve corn should make it possible to increase the yield and utility of this basic food plant to higher levels than ever would have been attained otherwise.
KeywordsEconomic Botany Corn Plant Hybrid Corn Basic Food Plant Sexual Part
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