Genotypic and phenotypic chacterization of maize testcross hybrids under stressed and non stressed conditions
Drought and low soil nitrogen are major factors limiting maize production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of maize testcross hybrids developed from four biparental populations: CML441 x CML444, CML440 x COMPE, CML444 x K64R and CML312 x NAW was conducted. The objectives were (a) to evaluate the performance of F2:3 line testcrosses across stressed and non-stress conditions, (b) to estimate heritabilities for grain yield and secondary traits, (c) to assess the relationship between testing environments, (d) to estimate genetic correlations among relevant traits, (e) to estimate direct and indirect genetic gain from selection, and (e) to have a preliminary assessment of the efficiency of marker-assisted selection. Studies were conducted under no nitrogen fertilization, low nitrogen, drought, well- watered and high nitrogen in Malawi and Zimbabwe. About 100 entries from each population were tested using an alpha lattice design with two replications at all locations. Traits measured were grain yield, plant height, anthesis date, anthesis-silking interval, ears per plant, grain moisture at harvest and leaf senescence. Highest grain yield across environments was obtained from population CML444 x K64R (3.82 Mg ha-1) and the lowest from CML440 x COMPE (3.64 Mg ha-1). Testcrosses from CML441 x CML444 and CML444 x K64R had higher heritability estimates compared to CML440 x COMPE and CML312 x NAW. Drought and high nitrogen environments had higher heritability estimates than low nitrogen and well-watered conditions. Drought and well-watered environments discriminated testcrosses in a similar manner as well as high and low nitrogen environments. All populations had negative correlations between grain yield and anthesis silking interval, while positive correlations were observed between grain yield and ears per plant. No consistent differences were observed between overall means of best and worst marker based selected line testcrosses across populations and environments. Highest direct expected genetic gains were observed from high nitrogen environments. Direct selection under specific environments (e.g. drought ) was estimated to be more beneficial than indirect selection in other environments.
Advisor:Betran, Javier; Miller, Creighton Jr.; Rooney, William L.; Smith, Wayne C.
School:Texas A&M University
School Location:USA - Texas
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:12/01/2005