Combining ability, protein, heterosis, and prediction of F₁ performance with RFLPs in a diallel of maize
Ball, Dale Warren
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Improving protein quality and identifying superior inbreds and hybrids are significant challenges in commercial maize breeding programs. These two problems were addressed in separate studies on inbreds and hybrids from a complete diallel cross of 12 elite proprietary inbred lines of maize evaluated in field trials in two locations for two years. One of the inbreds (WI) was a novel source of high quality protein obtained from Wilson Seeds, Inc. in Harlan, Iowa. In the first study, diallel analyses were used to study combining ability and types of gene action important in the inheritance of protein content, grain yield, grain moisture at harvest, time to silk, kernel hardness, and density. General combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) effects were highly significant for all traits indicating presence of both additive and non-additive effects, respectively. Reciprocal effects (REe), often assumed to be absent in maize diallel studies, were significant for grain yield and protein concentration, suggesting that choice of female parent may be important for these traits. Ratios expressing the relative importance of GCA and SCA indicated that protein concentration is controlled primarily by additive gene action. In the second study, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) data were obtained for the 12 inbreds using 42 genomic clones each with four restriction enzymes. Modified Roger's distances were calculated and used in cluster analyses for heterotic grouping of the inbreds. Two measures of level of heterozygosity and hybrid value were evaluated as means of predicting Fl performance of hybrids in the complete diallel set of hybrids and in groups of hybrids representing crosses between and within heterotic groups. Results from this study confirm those of previous investigations with respect to prediction of hybrid performance when comparable groupings of crosses between related and unrelated lines were evaluated. This study further indicates that RFLPs may also be useful for prediction of hybrid performance in situations typical of early generations of many maize breeding programs where recombinant inbreds are testcrossed to a common tester inbred.
- Doctoral Dissertations