Iowa State University Project to Develop Corn for Organic Production

A research team at Iowa State University received a a $1.4 million grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to apply genetic tools to the development of organic sweet corn and varieties of corn for specialty uses, such as for popcorn and tortillas. Project leader Thomas Lübberstedt explains, “In this new project, we say that there’s quite a few genes that are already known in maize that would add value to rapidly generate new sweet corn or specialty corn varieties if you could handle them efficiently using the tools and methods allowed in the organic production context.” The researchers will create proof-of-concept corn varieties better suited for organic production, using an organic-compatible version of doubled haploid technology.