Latest John Doebley Stories

2011-09-26 13:08:46

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 plants stand tall, on a single sturdy stalk, and produce a handful of large, kernel-filled ears. By contrast, teosinte is branchy and bushy, with scores of thumb-sized "ears," each containing only a dozen or so hard-shelled kernels. In seeking to better understand how...

2011-08-03 13:05:01

grassy tillers1 suppresses branching, enabling maize to grow taller when shade encroaches -- a key to teosinte's ancient domestication When an animal gets too hot or too cold, or feels pangs of hunger or thirst, it tends to relocate "“ to where it's cooler or hotter, or to the nearest place where food or water can be found.  But what about vegetative life?  What can a plant do under similar circumstances? Plants can't change the climate and they can't uproot themselves to move...

Word of the Day
  • A punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information.
  • A little rod; a twig.
This word comes from the Late Latin 'virgula,' accentual mark, a diminutive of 'virga,' rod.