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Inbreeding and Crossbreeding HTML5


Corn (Zea mays) is an annual grass originating in Central America.

It is monoecious, meaning it carries two types of unisexual inflorescence (flowers).

  • Male inflorescence, at the top of the plant is called the panicule. These flowers produce pollen.
  • The female flowers that give the corn cob is found in the pit of the leaves at the medial part of the plant. Their silk (flower styles) receive the pollen during pollination.

This animation represents two controlled pollination techniques in corn.

  • Self-pollination consisting of forcing the pollination of the female flowers by the pollen of the male flowers on the same plant. This technique is used in order to obtain a pure lineage of corn (homozygous for the agriculturally interesting characteristics).
  • Cross-pollination consists of the pollination of female flowers of one corn plant by the male flowers of another plant of a different variety. This technique is used in order to obtain hybrid plants (heterozygous).

Learning goals

  • To understand the principle of cross-fertilization and self-fertilization.
  • To know more about the reproduction of corn and the selection processes.
  • To understand what a hybrid organism is.

Learn more

In nature, crossings occur randomly, either by self-pollination or cross-pollination between different plants. However, in corn, like the majority of monoecious plants, cross-pollination is…

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