Waxy corn (maize) was found in China in 1909. As this plant showed many peculiar traits, the American breeders long used it as a genetic marker to tag the existence of hidden genes in other maize breeding programs. In 1922 a researcher found that the endosperm of waxy maize contained only amylopectin and no amylose starch molecule in opposition to normal dent maize varieties that contain both. Until World War II, the main source of starch in the USA was tapioca but when Japan severed the supply lines of the States, they forced processors to turn to waxy maize. Amylopectin or waxy starch is now used mainly in food products, but also in the textile, adhesive, corrugating and paper industry.
When feeding trials later on showed that waxy maize could produce more efficient feed gains than normal dent maize, interest in waxy maize suddenly mushroomed. Geneticists could show that waxy maize has a defect in metabolism precluding the synthesis of amylose in the endosperm. It is coded by a single recessive gene (wx). Waxy maize yield about 3.5% less than their normal dent counterparts and has to be isolated from any nearby normal maize fields by at least 200 meters.