On Finding the Right Plant
The product that is harvested most of the time is the seed. At the lab the researchers will choose whether or not they want a female or male and what DNA they need but once they do the crosses all the genetic material is in the seed and that is what we harvest and that is what is analyzed and re-planted again. The stalks of the corn, the tassels, the leaves of the corn, these things are studied. We have a researcher that grows acres of corn and before the plants come to fruition they take a razorblade, slice open the stalk and expose the immature tassel or ear before it comes out naturally to do phenotype scoring on it in order to tell early on what's going on. The researchers go through 20,000 plants and if they find the mutation they are looking for they will close it back up and cross and harvest that and all the other plants become green manure. So you grow a field of 20,000 and maybe only 1 has the DNA that you want and then you have to keep the raccoons and the birds away and keep it alive.
Last edited by Marisa Macari : 01-30-2006 at 10:17 PM.