The glowing corn from 1951

This is a bit on the odd side of agriculture. A strange new kind of corn which glows with a cold blue fluorescence under ultraviolet light it is grown at the California Institute of Technology (1951- my annotation). The spectral seedlings are descendants of corn which was exposed to atomic radiation during the Bikini tests to determine the effects of A-bomb radiation on living things.

This unnatural mutation is the most recent of many genetic freaks (sic!)  discovered in Cal tech's Navy - and AEC sponsored study of irradiated seeds. Acting on a hunch, geneticists H. J. Teas and E. G. Anderson examined a batch of nomral-looking green seedlings under ultraviolet light. Instantly a few of the plants stood out sharply from the rest. These gleaming sprouts represented a type of mutation different from any of the others produced by the A-bomb's rays. In form and size they are perfectly normal. Their only abnormality is a chemical one: the presence of flurescent substance that gives them their blue glow. 


photos and documentation: LIFE Magazine (US) | Zetu Harrys collection

You Might Also Like