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Direction of uppermost leaf whorling determined by chance

Direction of uppermost leaf whorling determined by chance

Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter (58): 202-203

As maize is very sensitive to light intensity and as the sun's rays in the northern hemisphere move clockwise from east to south to west, it has been hypothesized that maize now adapted to the northern hemisphere may have evolved an anticlockwise whorl for its upper leaf. This would allow the uppermost leaf to benefit from having the sun's rays penetrate deeply into its young, actively growing tissue.

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