ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Scientists have unraveled the DNA of humans and other creatures. Now, a team led by the Genome Center at Washington University in St. Louis has decoded the genetic makeup of a stalk of corn.

The team published the completed corn genome in the Nov. 20 journal Science. Washington University officials say it will speed efforts to develop better crop varieties and help feed the growing worldwide demand for food, livestock feed and fuel.

Corn is the nation's top crop. The corn genome consists of 32,000 genes in just 10 chromosomes. By comparison, humans have 20,000 genes in 23 chromosomes.

The $29.5 million maize sequencing project is funded by the U.S. departments of agriculture and energy and the National Science Foundation. It began in 2005.

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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