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Mutant GMO'ed sweet corn ... not

Even sweet corn has enough genetically variable genes to pop up occasionally without GMO tinkering.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

July 26, 2016

1 Min Read

In July’s issue and at, we shared “Genetic discovery could boost yields 50%.” It was about a new genetic pathway discovered at New York’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that could boost yields of corn and other staple crops by as much as 50%. In brief, “genetic tinkering” of gene alleles gives rise to more stem cells and substantially larger ears.

Related: Genetic discovery could boost crop yields 50%


It seems that nature can do that genetic tinkering on its own, too. While husking sweet corn ears, I unwrapped this super-thick ear with 18 rows of kernels and two ear tips. It’s one more example of the untapped genetic potential hidden inside the genes of our plant world.

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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