Corn can be found in thousands of everyday items, from the corn starch that holds your pizza crust together to corn syrup in beverages to plastics. Humans have been resourceful in finding the uses for corn.
Modern-day corn goes back about 10,000 years, the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah reports. Its ancestor, called teosinte, was a grass that looks very different from today’s maize plant. It produced small, thin “cobs,” that were two or three inches long and contained five to 12 hard kernels.
Humans used traditional breeding techniques to breed the most desirable traits from each generation of teosinte to create today’s 12-inch ears of field and sweet corn. Teosinte’s hard kernels were difficult for humans to chew, so the firmness was bred out of the plant. Today, more than 500 easily-chewable kernels adorn each ear of sweet corn.
Whether it’s a 4,000-acre farmer in the United States or a two-acre farmer in the Philippines, corn is an important part of agriculture. Farmers around the world now grow corn to: feed themselves and communities; feed livestock; and use for industrial applications, such as medicine, plastics and biofuels. Corn’s versatile nature has propelled it to be grown on the second-most acreage in the world, behind wheat.
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 Source: Kentucky Corn Growers Association. Corn is All Around Us. (5, August 2016). Obtained from: http://www.kycorn.org/documents/cornuses.pdf
 Source: Monsanto Company. America’s Farmers. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Corn. (5, August 2016). Obtained from: http://www.americasfarmers.com/2014/01/29/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-corn/.
 Source: University of Utah. Genetic Science Learning Center. Evolution of Corn. (5, August 2016). Obtained from: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/selection/corn/.
 Source: National Science Foundation. Scientists Trace Corn Ancestry from Ancient Grass to Modern Crop. (5, August 2016). Obtained from: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=104207.
 Source: University of California Museum of Paleontology, National Science Foundation. Understanding Evolution. The other green (r)evolution. (5, August 2016). Obtained from: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/070201_corn.