Molecular mapping of QTL for southwestern corn borer resistance, plant height and flowering in tropical maize

M. M. Khairallah, M. Bohn, C. Jiang, J. A. Deutsch, D. C. Jewell, J. A. Mihm, A. E. Melchinger, D. González-De-León, D. A. Hoisington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Development of multiple insect resistance in tropical maize represents a major effort of the maize breeding programme at CIMMYT. Resistance to the southwestern corn borer (SWCB) is polygenically controlled with primarily additive gene action. Our main objective was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) involved in resistance to SWCB. Other objectives were to detect QTL in the same population for plant height, female flowering, and the anthesis-silking interval (ASI). A population of 472 F2 individuals derived from a cross between the susceptible line Ki3 and the resistant inbred CML139, was restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) genotyped using 110 maize probes. F3 families were rated for leaf-feeding damage after artificial infestation at one location in three consecutive years. Height and flowering were measured in protected trials in two locations. QTL analyses were conducted using joint composite interval mapping. Seven QTL on chromosomes 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9 explained 30% of the phenotypic variance (σ2(p)) for SWCB damage. Most QTL alleles conferring resistance were contributed from CML139. QTL showed dominance, partial dominance and additive gene action. Eleven QTL dispersed across the genome were determined to affect plant height and explained 43% of σ2(p). Four of these were in close proximity to loci with qualitative effects on plant height. Thirteen QTL (50% of σ2(p)) were identified for days to female flowering and nine (30% of σ2(p)) for ASI. Our results, along with those from other mapping studies at CIMMYT, are allowing us to formulate marker-assisted selection schemes to complement the breeding efforts for such complex traits as borer resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Breeding
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Composite interval mapping
  • Diatraea grandiosella
  • Insect resistance
  • QTL
  • RFLP
  • Zea mays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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