Maize (Zea mays, L.) breeding research in the public sector involves identifying novel genes, alleles, and breeding procedures that have promising commercial applications, but this role is stymied due to limited access to commercial quality lines and hybrids. Use of lines recently released from Plant Variety Protection (PVP) may be a solution. Our overall goal was to investigate the extent and nature of the allelic diversity in elite maize germplasm at the molecular level and gain insight into how this allelic diversity relates to the performance of superior hybrids. The specific objectives were to (i) characterize the genetic composition of 12 selected elite inbreds, (ii) evaluate these inbreds and their 66 F1 hybrids and segregating F1 derived F2 populations for an extensive number of leaf, tassel, and ear traits, including yield, and (iii) perform a statistical and quantitative genetic analysis to identify significant genetic variation thereof. Cluster analysis based on pedigree relationships and molecular markers indicated that the selected elite inbred parents are genetically diverse. Applying the Eberhart and Gardner general model we confirmed the presence of substantial additive, dominance, and epistatic variation in the elite germplasm selected and developed for this experiment. Experimental material derived from Ex-PVP lines will be an important component of maize breeding research on increased productivity. In this research, hybrid mapping populations will prove to be invaluable for detection of nonadditive quantitative trait loci and association effects in yield related traits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science