Corn DNA: Eat it Up

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There’s a lot of corn news this week, some of it related to Thanksgiving but mainly because researchers have just decoded the DNA of corn. Apparently, corn has a pretty complex genome and it’s giving scientists a lot of new information.

Credit: Iowa State
Credit: Iowa State

The basics: Corn has 32,000 genes packed into 10 chromosomes (humans have 20,000 genes spread among 23 chromosomes). About 85 percent of the corn DNA has these segments that are repeated; that compares to only about 45 percent of human’s DNA. Reports also said there’s a surprisingly huge difference between two corn varieties, (as much as the genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees!).

Now that researchers know corn’s DNA sequence, they hope it will help develop better types of corn for consumers around the world.

Corn has received a lot of bad press lately, with stories about high fructose corn syrup and the bulging calorie count of movie popcorn. But plain, simple sweet corn carries a lot of health benefits. It’s a good source of dietary fiber, and vitamins B and C.  Blue corn has more protein and it also contains anthocyanins, phytochemicals well studied for cancer prevention.

In some shape or form, you’ll likely be eating corn tomorrow (and everyday). For tasty and healthy corn recipes, visit Recipes from the AICR Test Kitchen.
You can read more about the corn’s genome in the journals Science and PLoS Genetics.

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    Bountiful Beans

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    Today’s AICR Health-e-Recipe helps you fill up, not fill out.

    Three-Bean Chili uses beans to satisfy your appetite while adding cancer-fighting folate (a B vitamin), fiber and plant-based protein to your meal. Kids love ’em, they come in many colors and they’re used in almost every kind of cuisine . Beans dry mixed

    And they’re cheap! Soak your own dried beans or empty a can into a colander, rinse and drain them. Then toss them into hot dishes, cold salads, or blend them with some salsa for a delicious, healthy dip.

    Check AICR’s Test Kitchen for more bean recipes, or order our free brochure, Beans and Whole Grains: The New American Plate, for lots more info and recipes.

    Subscribe to AICR’s Health-e-Recipes, and get a free healthy, tested AICR recipe delivered to your inbox every Tuesday.

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