Re: maize in ancient India: transpacific links (cont.)

Jeffrey L Baker (
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 17:26:08 -0700

On Sat, 25 Jan 1997, Hu McCulloch wrote:
> According to J&P critics Payak and Sachan (EB 1993 202-5),
> when the All India Coordinated Maize Improvement Project
> tried to introduce the double top cross maize hybrid GANGA-5
> into Karnataka in the late 1960's, it was found to be highly
> susceptible to Sorghum Downy Mildew (Peronosclerospora
> spori).
> My hunch is that maize prospered for several decades, or
> even a couple of centuries, during the Hoysala period in the
> 12th and 13th C AD, whence the sculptures, but then this
> mildew, or some similar blight or smut was introduced from
> outside, and wiped out the maize strains that were in cultivation
> in Karnataka.

Hybrid varieties of maize are much more susceptible to disease than
non-hybrid varieties of maize. This hybrid was probably highly
susceptible to Sorghum Downy Mildew anywhere. Other varieties of maize
seem to do just fine in India. Maize has done just fine in India for
approximately 500 years without being continually wiped out by disease.
It is only this one variety that is susceptible to this disease.

Jeff Baker