Silk that "kills".
USDA researchers say certain varieties of corn plants have silks that contain a natural repellent against hungry caterpillars.
The scientists say crossing the maysin-rich corn with elite commercial lines should enable plant breeders to eventually provide farmers with hybrids that withstand attack by corn earworms.
Maysin works by binding up certain proteins in the earworm's gut … preventing it from growing.
The researchers have shown it's possible to transfer the high-maysin trait from dent corn to sweet corn.