Fungus can convince corn to stand up for itself

Published April 24, 2020

If you want to grow organic corn, you can’t use chemical insecticides. (I mean, you can use chemicals, but not ones that are made in a lab.) You have to fight insects and be able to call it “natural.” Anyway, Penn State researchers found a nifty new potential tool: the common Metarhizium robertsii fungus.

It’s actually kinda cute and fuzzy.

What’s really cool is that the fungus doesn’t fight predators — it gets the corn to do it.
“We saw that colonization of corn plants by the fungus M. robertsii promoted plant growth and boosted the expression of selected genes involved in plant defense in corn.”
Of course, just because the fungus is affecting the corn genes you can’t call it “GMO.” It’s natural, after all.