Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison tested how corn populations selected for high production in different regions of the country responded to different growing conditions. They concluded that artificial selection by crop breeders has produced corn that produces well in a particular location but is less able to adapt to new or stressful environments, which means there is less of a genetic pool to draw from when breeders seek to make corn more adaptable to changing conditions. The field trial looked at more than 850 unique corn varieties in 21 locations across North America. "The data seem to point to the idea that by selecting genotypes that are better suited to be more productive, we are eroding variability that might be important as we move into a world where climate might be more erratic and where we might need to move cultivars into places where they haven't been grown before," said study leader Natalia de Leon.
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