Selection for Early Flowering Results in Simultaneous Selection for Reduced Nuclear DNA Content in Maize

A. Lane Rayburn, J. W. Dudley, D. P. Biradar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Several studies have indicated a possible link between genome size and earliness in maize. In this study, an original maize population, South African photo‐period insensitive maize composite II (C0) and several selected generations were analyzed for days to flowering, plant height, ear height, and yield. The selection criterion was earliness. Over six cycles of selection a 14‐day decrease in days to flowering was obtained with no significant reduction in grain yield. In the initial population (C0) and the most advanced selection (C6) 101 plants were analyzed for nuclear DNA content. A significant decrease in the mean nuclear DNA content of the C0 population (102 AU) was observed with respect to the C0 population (105 AU). This reduction was the result of a decrease in frequency of plants in the C6 population with large genome sizes. Therefore it was concluded that selection for earliness resulted in selection against plants with large genome sizes. Hence, the nucleotype of a maize plant can be modified by selection such as early flowering time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-322
Number of pages5
JournalPlant Breeding
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1994



  • Zea mays
  • flow cytometry
  • genome size
  • selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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