An effective press release
Focusing on people drives engagment
This press release really caught my eye - it drew me in with the heading "Study shows it took 2,000 years to successfully grow maize in northern climates". The first paragraph focuses on the "indigenous people in the American southwest (who) started the process of adapting maize to temperate growing seasons 4000 years ago and refined it over the following 2000 years."
I've read a lot of press releases about genomic evidence of domestication, but rarely do the early growers take center stage in this way.
Have a look and tell me if you respond similarly.
Full press release:
Precision breeding needed to adapt corn to climate change
It took 2000 years to successfully grow maize in northern climates
August 03, 2017
The US Corn Belt and European maize owe their
existence to a historic change: the ability of this plant, originally
from the tropics, to flower early enough to avoid winter. Research led
by Cornell University in New York and the Max Planck Institute for
Developmental Biology in Tuebingen, Germany reveals that indigenous
people in the American southwest started the process of adapting maize
to temperate growing seasons 4000 years ago and refined it over the
following 2000 years.
From this point onwards, it grew well enough to provide a reliable source of subsistence, mainly in stews and soups. Its nutritional content was also improved - the study finds that some of the archaeological samples had high beta-carotene yellow kernels, the earliest evidence of people eating yellow corn. The kernels were also likely to be of the popping variety.
Farmers adapted it using the genetic diversity of domesticated varieties and wild grass relatives already present in Mexico. Over time, their selections meant that varieties became dominant for gene variants that drive early flowering, enabling them to cope with a shorter growing season and different day-lengths. This took millennia to accomplish.