Research Article

Genetic analysis of water-deficit response traits in maize

Published: March 28, 2016
Genet. Mol. Res. 15(1): gmr7459 DOI: 10.4238/gmr.15017459

Abstract

A set of sixty inbred lines of maize (Zea mays L.) were screened in the greenhouse at the seedling stage under both normal and water-deficit conditions. Six water deficit-tolerant inbred lines were selected based on root to shoot ratios. These selected lines were crossed in a diallel pattern. The parental, F1, and reciprocal cross plants were planted in a field under both normal and water-deficit conditions. Normal irrigation was applied to the control set, while the water-deficit set received 50% of normal irrigation levels. Analyses of variance of various morpho-physiological parameters identified significant differences among the selected lines under both conditions, indicating the presence of significant genetic variability. Variance components for general combining ability (GCA), specific combining ability (SCA), and reciprocal effects for all the parameters were estimated to determine the relative importance of additive and non-additive or dominance type of gene action. Variance components for GCA were larger than for SCA indicating the preponderance of additive types of gene action for all the traits under study. Hybrids developed from inbred lines W-10 and W-64SP proved to have the best grain yield under normal and water-deficit conditions. Under water-deficit conditions, the best performing cross was B-34 x W-10. Hence, these inbred lines and the hybrids might be of value in future breeding programs.

A set of sixty inbred lines of maize (Zea mays L.) were screened in the greenhouse at the seedling stage under both normal and water-deficit conditions. Six water deficit-tolerant inbred lines were selected based on root to shoot ratios. These selected lines were crossed in a diallel pattern. The parental, F1, and reciprocal cross plants were planted in a field under both normal and water-deficit conditions. Normal irrigation was applied to the control set, while the water-deficit set received 50% of normal irrigation levels. Analyses of variance of various morpho-physiological parameters identified significant differences among the selected lines under both conditions, indicating the presence of significant genetic variability. Variance components for general combining ability (GCA), specific combining ability (SCA), and reciprocal effects for all the parameters were estimated to determine the relative importance of additive and non-additive or dominance type of gene action. Variance components for GCA were larger than for SCA indicating the preponderance of additive types of gene action for all the traits under study. Hybrids developed from inbred lines W-10 and W-64SP proved to have the best grain yield under normal and water-deficit conditions. Under water-deficit conditions, the best performing cross was B-34 x W-10. Hence, these inbred lines and the hybrids might be of value in future breeding programs.

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