The breeding of two-rowed (airplane) sweet corn

The occasional appearance of a phenotypically unstable type of four-rowed corn in normally eight-rowed corn is commonly observed by corn breeders. This condition results from two ranks of paired spikelets. The phenotype is hereby designated as two-squared corn. Its expression may be stabilized by the incorporation of a portion of Tripsacum chromosome 9 (Tr9) in an interchange with corn chromosome 2.

Four-rowed ears of corn may also be produced by having the gene for single female spikelets (pd) in a background of eight-rowed corn. In this case the four-rowed condition results from four ranks of single spikelets. This phenotype is hereby designated as four-squared corn.

The recombinant phenotype of two-ranks of single female spikelets provides a two-rowed ear of corn. Because the little flat ears of this phenotype will lie on an airline eating tray without rolling off into your lap, this combination is hereby designated as airplane corn. Work is underway to develop sugary-shrunken and sugary brittle hybrids of airplane corn.

Walton C. Galinat


Please Note: Notes submitted to the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter may be cited only with consent of the authors.

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