Genetic Analysis of Grain Yield and Other Traits of Early‐Maturing Maize Inbreds under Drought and Well‐Watered Conditions uri icon

abstract

  • Maize (Zea mays L.) is an important staple food crop in West and Central Africa (WCA). However, its production is constrained by drought. Knowledge and understanding of the genetics of hybrid performance under drought is invaluable in designing breeding strategies for improving maize yield. One hundred and fifty hybrids obtained by crossing 30 inbreds in sets using the North Carolina Design II plus six checks were evaluated under drought and well-watered conditions for 2years at three locations in Nigeria. The objectives of the studies were to (i) determine the mode of gene action controlling grain yield and other important agronomic traits of selected early inbred lines, (ii) examine the relationship between per se performance of inbreds and their hybrids and (iii) identify appropriate testers for maize breeding programmes in WCA. General combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) mean squares were significant (P<0.01) for grain yield and other traits under the research environments. The GCA accounted for 64.5% and 62.3% of the total variation for grain yield under drought and well-watered conditions, indicating that additive gene action largely controlled the inheritance of grain yield of the hybrids. Narrow-sense heritability was 67% for grain yield under drought and 49% under well-watered conditions. The correlations between traits of early-maturing parental lines and their hybrids were significant (P<0.01) under drought, well-watered and across environments. Mid-parent and better-parent heterosis for grain yield were 45.3% and 18.4% under drought stress and 111.9% and 102.6% under well-watered conditions. Inbreds TZEI 31, TZEI 17, TZEI 129 and TZEI 157 were identified as the best testers. Drought-tolerant hybrids with superior performance under stress and non-stress conditions could be obtained through the accumulation of favourable alleles for drought tolerance in both parental lines.

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014
  • 2014