Combining ability of certain agronomic traits in quality protein maize under stress and non-stress environments in Eastern and Southern Africa

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Crop Science 54 (3) : 1004-1014, 2014

Dagne Wegary Gissa; Vivek, B.; Labuschagne, M.T.

Growing maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids tolerant to drought and low N stress would significantly reduce yield losses occurring in Africa. This study evaluated the performance of quality protein maize (QPM) F1 hybrids, and general (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) of QPM inbred lines for grain yield and other agronomic traits under stress and non-stress environments. A diallel cross of 15 QPM inbred lines was evaluated under drought and low N stresses and optimal conditions in a total of 17 environments in Eastern and Southern Africa. Significant variations were observed among the hybrids for all measured traits. TZMI703 x (6207QB/6207QA), GQL5 x (6207QB/6207QA) and CML159 x (6207QB/6207QA) were identified as the best single crosses across environments. GCA and SCA mean squares were significant for all measured traits, indicating that additive and non-additive genetic effects were important in this set of genotypes under all test environments. GCA effects were more important under drought stress, and SCA effects were more important under low N and optimal conditions for grain yield. There was preponderance of GCA effects for most agronomic traits tested in all environmental conditions. Inbred lines CML159SR, GQL5, CML159 and CML312SRQ exhibited favorable GCA effects for grain yield under stress and optimal conditions, indicating that the genetic systems controlling a given trait under different conditions are at least partially similar. Cross combinations with favorable SCA effects for grain yield and other traits were also identified. Generally, this study provided evidence that good performance can be achieved under stress and non-stress conditions in QPM germplasm.


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