Adebayo, M.A.; Menkir, A.; Blay, E.; Gracen, V.; Danquah, E.; Hearne, S.
Introduced maize (Zea mays L.) germplasm can serve as sources of favorable alleles to enhance performance in new maize varieties and hybrids under drought stress conditions. In the present study, the combining abilities of 12 exotic maize inbred lines from CIMMYT and 12 adapted maize inbred lines from IITA were studied for grain yield and other traits under controlled drought stress. The inbred lines from each institution were separated into groups using SSR-based genetic diversity and were intercrossed using a factorial mating scheme to generate 96 hybrids. These hybrids were evaluated under both controlled drought stress and well-watered conditions at Ikenne in Nigeria in 2010 and 2011. Average mean yields of hybrids under drought stress represented 23 % of the average yield of hybrids under full irrigation. General combining ability (GCA) effects accounted for 49–85 % of the observed variation for several traits recorded under both well-watered and drought stress conditions. Specific combining ability effects for grain yield, though positive in most hybrids, were not significant under drought stress conditions. All the twelve exotic and nine adapted lines had positive GCA effects (female, male, or both) for grain yield under either drought stress or full irrigation, or both environments. EXL03 and EXL15 that had positive and significant female and male GCA effects for grain yield under both environments can be used to improve their adapted counterparts for grain yield and drought tolerance. Normalized difference vegetation index had weak but significant correlation with grain yield.
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