QTL for insect resistance and drought tolerance in tropical maize: prospects for marker assisted selection.

D. Hoisington, C. Jiang, M. Khairallah, J. M. Ribaut, M. Bohn, A. Melchinger, M. Willcox, D. González-de-León

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insects and drought cause severe losses in the production of maize in many developing countries. Conventional breeding efforts to enhance the level of resistance to a number of insect pests and tolerance to drought have been successful, although only through large efforts of many breeders and over a large period of time. Continued improvements will only be possible through substantial investment of resources. Recently, success in identifying quantitative trait loci (QTL) in several plant species using various molecular marker systems offers alternative methods for accelerating conventional breeding programs. As the first step towards using molecular markers in CIMMYT's maize breeding program, restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) have been used to understand the genetic basis of resistance to two corn borer species, southwestern corn borer and sugarcane borer, and to one major component of drought tolerance, anthesis-silking interval. A number of QTL with effects large enough to be regarded as significant in breeding were detected for each of these traits and many of them presented stable effects over environments. While variability in the number and location of QTL has been found when compared across populations, several loci were found to be quite consistent. Simple calculations can be made which estimate that the total genetic potential in maize for these traits is high. It is argued that to ultimately access and manipulate this potential, the use of linked molecular markers as indirect selectable markers is both feasible and necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalSymposia of the Society for Experimental Biology
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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