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What's up with my corn?

 
Posts: 35
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Let me begin by saying that I have been growing Black Aztec corn for 7 or 8 years and gem corn for 4 or 5 years.  I can grow both of them in my garden separated because the maturity times are so far apart.  This year the BA corn didn't germinate all that well and I have only about a dozen stalks.  I noticed a pretty big ear that looked ready to harvest yesterday so grabbed it.  When I peeled the husk back I was shocked to see the multi-colored pattern similar to the glass gem corn and even multiple colors within some of the kernels, which I've never seen on glass gem. I am now suspicious that my Aztec corn was cross-pollinated by one of the nearby GMO cornfields. Even the shape of the ear (fat!) doesn't match either variety.  I have attached a picture of BA corn and the "mutant" for comparison.  Also a close up of the speckled kernels.  Any thoughts from the corn experts out there?
Weird-corn.jpg
[Thumbnail for Weird-corn.jpg]
Weird-corn-close-up.jpg
[Thumbnail for Weird-corn-close-up.jpg]
 
pollinator
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From the way it looks, I think your varieties crossed.  It isn’t uncommon to have a few stalks or even just a few ears that are later or earlier than the rest.
 
pollinator
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I see you can now purchase and "home GMO test kit", similar to a pregnancy test kit (link below).  Looks like they also receive samples in the mail if you wish for them to test it for you.  You would want to ask the test kit company what protein exactly they are testing for .....  I suspect most field corn might be GMO for the Roundup-Ready trait, but it would be interesting to ask.  How far away from your garden is the nearest field with standard field corn?

https://www.envirologix.com/gmo-testing/gmo-testing-kits-protein/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw7ZL6BRCmARIsAH6XFDIEU1-xPW7b-BYTxginC87DflEJfIU7C9eYbUMCqlijSxqEGGaCZckaAr5MEALw_wcB
 
Ken W Wilson
pollinator
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Field corn used to be dent corn. If it still is, dents could be an indicator.
 
pollinator
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Hi Patricia.  I live over by Dalton.  I use Maysville elevator for BT testing.  They only sell non gmo corn and have invested in the equipment to test.  It is expensive though.  This year the ground temperature at our farm didn't get warm enough to sprout until the last few days of May.  I have noticed that our timing is messed up too.  We grow an old line of dent corn that accidently gets pollinated with our sweet corn and flint corn sometimes.  The only thing we have that doesn't seem to cross is our strawberry popcorn. This year the wind has seldom come from the west like other years.  It definitely looks like it was crossed with a dent corn.  
 
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New to corn, but have been doing a fair amount of research, as corn genetics are fascinating.

My understanding is that with corn, genetic variability is a big factor, withe in breeding leading to much smallergies kernels/cobs. . I suspect your varieties have crossed. And that corn plant is exhibiting hybrid vigour. You typically need to save seeds from about 200 plants to prevent inbreeding depression in corn.

It's unlikely that the corn has crossed with field corn, as, genetically, field corn doesn't contain the genes needed to show the pretty colours that mutant cob has. It's possible, of course, that a few kernels have crossed with field corn, but it looks to me that you are seeing the results of a cross last year, and also, based on the multiple colours, more crossing this year.

As for the multiple colours - its possible that the speckling is a trait that was hidden in the Aztec corn. My Painted Mountain corn has lots of speckled kernels,
 
Patricia Boley
Posts: 35
Location: Rittman, OH
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John Weiland wrote:I see you can now purchase and "home GMO test kit", similar to a pregnancy test kit (link below).  Looks like they also receive samples in the mail if you wish for them to test it for you.  You would want to ask the test kit company what protein exactly they are testing for .....  I suspect most field corn might be GMO for the Roundup-Ready trait, but it would be interesting to ask.  How far away from your garden is the nearest field with standard field corn?

https://www.envirologix.com/gmo-testing/gmo-testing-kits-protein/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw7ZL6BRCmARIsAH6XFDIEU1-xPW7b-BYTxginC87DflEJfIU7C9eYbUMCqlijSxqEGGaCZckaAr5MEALw_wcB



This cracks me up!  I work at Ohio State University/OARDC about 20 minutes from where I live.  I do ELISAs fairly regularly and have actually designed a few myself.  I've used these precoated ones and they are pretty expensive.  It occurred to me that someone on campus (we have corn people here) might be able to test it for me.  The current ELISA I use in the lab is designed to test serum.  Most of the farmers around here have put up signs near the road promoting their corn variety.  I would have to say that the nearest cornfield is less than half a mile from me.  I have worried about it every year and it has been a weird weather summer, with prevailing winds coming from various directions rather than the usual SW. I believe I will find the corn people on campus.  I've already gotten help from the entomologist regarding a large spider I found a few years ago.  They identified it as a wolf spider.
 
Patricia Boley
Posts: 35
Location: Rittman, OH
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Christopher Shepherd wrote:Hi Patricia.  I live over by Dalton.  I use Maysville elevator for BT testing.  They only sell non gmo corn and have invested in the equipment to test.  It is expensive though.  This year the ground temperature at our farm didn't get warm enough to sprout until the last few days of May.  I have noticed that our timing is messed up too.  We grow an old line of dent corn that accidently gets pollinated with our sweet corn and flint corn sometimes.  The only thing we have that doesn't seem to cross is our strawberry popcorn. This year the wind has seldom come from the west like other years.  It definitely looks like it was crossed with a dent corn.  



I planted some things the first week of May and lost them because of the frost we got that was AFTER the frost date.  Potatoes were a disaster.  Replanted all the corn and beans.  I love BA because it makes blue tortillas, corn chips, cornbread, tamales.  Glass gem corn grows well, is pretty and as Forest Gump says, it's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you will get. I sell the pretty ears at the Farmer's Market and use the rest for popcorn. Your strawberry popcorn is a variety I have considered growing. Im a popcorn addict.  Gem corn doesn't pop as well as commercial varieties but tastes delicious. You are correct about the wind, coming from all different directions this summer.  Since I work at OARDC, I'll explore the resources available to me.  There is a lab that does corn research.
 
Patricia Boley
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Catie George wrote:New to corn, but have been doing a fair amount of research, as corn genetics are fascinating.

My understanding is that with corn, genetic variability is a big factor, withe in breeding leading to much smallergies kernels/cobs. . I suspect your varieties have crossed. And that corn plant is exhibiting hybrid vigour. You typically need to save seeds from about 200 plants to prevent inbreeding depression in corn.

It's unlikely that the corn has crossed with field corn, as, genetically, field corn doesn't contain the genes needed to show the pretty colours that mutant cob has. It's possible, of course, that a few kernels have crossed with field corn, but it looks to me that you are seeing the results of a cross last year, and also, based on the multiple colours, more crossing this year.

As for the multiple colours - its possible that the speckling is a trait that was hidden in the Aztec corn. My Painted Mountain corn has lots of speckled kernels,



I typically save one or two seeds from every ear I harvest and at least one year, I purchased new seed.  I never grow enough to get to the two hundred, so I should be in the habit of introducing different genetic variety by purchasing more often, I would assume?
 
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