A second "Teopod" mutation.
Another mutation to Teopod or a similar character, has occurred. This mutant was discovered by Dr. Bailey Pepper of the New Jersey Experiment Station in a field of sweet corn growing in New Jersey. We obtained seed from Dr. C. M. Haensler of the New Jersey Station. It was grown under the name of "Corn Grass" because it was much more like a grass than normal corn. The blades of the leaves are narrow and there are many tillers giving a grassy appearance. In the field the plants do not exceed three feet in height and look much less like normal corn than the Teopod of Lindstrom. However until the two stocks have been tested by crossing it is not possible to state whether they are allelic. These tests will be made in 1947.
The "second Teopod" was first grown in Connecticut in 1945. Seed from the mutant produced two kinds of plants, normal and Teopod, in approximately equal numbers. The normal plants were recessive. Open-pollinated seed from the Teopod plants gave in 1946 a 1:1 ratio for normal and Teopod. In the field in 1945 and 1946 no tassels of any kind were produced. The stock has been maintained by backcrossing to normal corn.
In the 1946-1947 greenhouse crop grown under a shorter day, tassels with apparently good pollen have been produced.
The "Teopod" reported here makes many brace roots beneath the leaf sheaths. Some of these grow to be several inches in length. It occurred to us we might propagate these asexually and an attempt was made. The cut stalks rooted and lived for several weeks. Had the attempt been made earlier in the summer, it is possible they might have been successful.
One is forced to speculate whether mutations to such bizarre types as Teopod may have any bearing on the origin of corn. If a single gene can change the habit of a corn plant so completely, might not a reverse mutation have originally occurred to give us normal corn? Possibly the ancestor of maize may have been something more like one of the Teopods.
W. R. Singleton