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  • Writer's picturePhilip

Labyrinth or Maze

The word Labyrinth is tied to ancient Greek legend. According to this legend, the original labyrinth was built by architect Daedalus and his son Icarus to house the Minotaur, a creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull. The word Maze dates back to the 13th Century and comes from the Middle English word meaning “delirium” or “delusion.”

The maize crop is important world-wide. The corn from each cob can be turned into flour and syrup, it is fed to livestock, it is transformed in to ethanol and can even be used to make plastic. Between 2016 and 2017, about a billion tonnes of corn were produced around the globe with corn providing more than six percent of all food calories for humans.

How is all this possible? Genetic engineering is how. Maize originated in central Mexico and was domesticated circa 8,000 years ago from a wild grass called teosinte. Teosinte looked nothing like modern maize, in particular due to it having smaller, fewer and more spaced-out kernels, each surrounded by a tough casing.

As early as 1908 researcher, Shull reported that inbred lines of maize showed general deterioration in yield and vigour, but that hybrids between two inbred lines immediately and completely recovered; in many cases their yield exceeded that of the varieties from which the inbreeds were derived. Furthermore, they had a highly desirable uniformity. Unfortunately, in this day and age the popular press would have us believe that genetic engineering is a dangerous thing and that rewilding will provide habitat to allow the re-introduction of Minotaurs (or was it Beavers!)


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