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Plant scientists at The Pennsylvania State University have
found that com containing mutant genes can improve the
nutritional quality of animal feeds. Such com enables
animals to use plant protein more efficiently than com with
normal genes, according to Dr. Douglas L. Garwood and Dr.
John S. Shenk, assistant professors of plant breeding. They
add that com from certain mutant genes may also be more
digestible than normal com.
The findings are part of long range studies by plant
scientists to improve the nutritional value of food crops.
Plant breeders have recently produced varieties with high
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percentages of polyunsaturated fats, high sugar sweet corn
hybrids, and crops with increased amounts of various
Weight of laboratory rats and meadow voles doubled at
Penn State when the animals were fed mutant genes known
as opaque-2 and a combination of opaque-2 and sugary-2,
compared with weight gains from normal corn or the sugary
-2 mutant gene alone. Rats and meadow voles (field mice)
were used because they could be fed the limited grain
available from plant breeding studies. Also, the rat has a
single stomach while the meadow vole has a more complex
digestive system with a greater capacity to digest fiber.
The Penn State scientists used 5 naturally-occurring maize
mutant genes in their experiments. All mutant genes were
examined individually and in various combinations for
digestibility. The three genes not mentioned earlier were
known as amylose-extender, dull, and waxy.
The experiments showed that digestibility of com can be
improved by using mutant genes. A laboratory procedure
was used to simulate the rumen digestive system by using
rumen fluid from the stomach of a cow to digest the ex
perimental com. Waxy and double waxy mutants with full
sized kernels were highest in digestibility. Mutants with
amylose-extender were the least digestible.
Drs. Garwood and Shenk explain that a gene is a unit of
inheritance. Each hereditary factor or gene controls the
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1027 Diliervfflt _
24 Hour Service Doily
Lancaster Farming, Saturday, Jan. 26,1974
formation of a specific component of the plant. In a plant
having a mutant gene, an altered or non-normal product
The value of mutant genes in com was described recently
by Drs. Garwood and Shenk in a special foods issue of
"Science in Agriculture,” the quarterly magazine of the
Agricultural Experiment Station at Penn State. Copies are
available free from the Agricultural Mailing Room 112 Ag.
Adm. Bldg., University Park, Pa. 16802.
The quality of a food protein, the researchers point out,
depends primarily on the level of a specific amino acid in the
protein. Amino acids are the protein building blocks which
develop muscle and maintain vital bodily functions.
Unfortunately, proteins found in com, barley, wheat, rice,
and sorghum are low in amino acids such as lysine. The
lysine definciency becomes apparent when com, for
example, is fed as the sole source of protein to single
stomached animals like humans and pigs. These animals are
unable to build adequate protein from com alone and growth
Com with the opaque-2 mutant gene has been shown to
overcome amino acid deficiency, and has been termed “high
lysine com.” Com hybrids containing this gene have an
amino acid composition that makes the grain suitable for
food or feed without adding supplementary protein. A similar
gene has been identified in barley and sorghum, say the Penn
State scientists. Reports suggest that high-lysine wheat may
Widespread adoption of the opaque-2 com hybrids has been
slowed by softness of the kernels. Soft and “floury ap
pearing” opaque-2 kernels contribute to increased problems
in harvesting and storage compared to normal com.
Bank Directors OK
4-for-l Stock Split
The shareholders of the
First National Bank of
Strasburg approved a stock
split and an increase of
capital at their annual
meeting on January 22, 1974.
The four for one stock split
will increase the number of
shares of capital stock
outstanding from 50,000
shares to 200,000 shares and
the par value of each share
will be changed from $lO.OO
per share to $2.50 per share.
Also approved was an
increase in capital by the
sale of 50,000 shares of
Common Stock of $2.50 par
value each, at a sale price of
not less than $20.50 per
share. Shareholders will
receive transferable sub
scription warrents exer
cisable until 12:00 noon,
reelected the following
Directors: L. H. Brubaker,
John E. Burkholder, J.
The best from
start to finish
PIONEER HI BRED INC
LAURINBURG N C ‘TIPTON INDIANA
Everett Fisher, Howard E.
Groff, J. Lloyd Hamish, J.
Robert Hess, Donald H.
Hoffecker, William M.
Musser, Jr., A. F. Witmer,
and C. M. Woerth.
The Board of Directors
then held their annual
Donald H. Hoffecker,
executive vice president of
the Bank, announced the
election of the following
officers of the Board: J.
Lloyd Harnish, Chairman of
the Board, William M.
Musser, Jr., president, John
John E. Burkholder, vice
president, and L. H.
Over 160 attended the
shareholders meeting which
was preceded by a luncheon
at Historic Strasburg’s
Washington House where
Miss Tina Louise Thomas,
Miss Pennsylvania, en
tertained the group with a
selection of gospel songs.
Two outstanding med.
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Excellent for husking or
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