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Performance and grain yield stability of maize populations developed using marker-assisted recurrent selection and pedigree selection procedures
- Beyene, Yoseph, Semagn, Kassa, Mugo, Stephen, Prasanna, Boddupalli M., Tarekegne, Amsal, Gakunga, John, Sehabiague, Pierre, Meisel, Barbara, Oikeh, Sylvester O., Olsen, Michael, Crossa, Jose
- Euphytica 2016 v.208 no.2 pp. 285-297
- corn, flowering, grain yield, hybrids, parents, pedigree, plant breeding, recurrent selection, selfing, Kenya
- A marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) program was undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa to improve grain yield under drought-stress in 10 biparental tropical maize populations. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the performance of C₁S₂-derived hybrids obtained after three MARS cycles (one cycle of recombination (C₁), followed by two generations of selfing (S₂), and to study yield stability under both drought-stress (DS) and well-watered (WW) conditions. For each of the 10 populations, we evaluated hybrids developed by crossing 47–74 C₁S₂ lines advanced through MARS, the best five S₅ lines developed through pedigree selection, and the founder parents with a single-cross tester from a complementary heterotic group. The hybrids and five commercial checks were evaluated in Kenya under 1–3 DS and 3–5 WW conditions with two replications. Combined across DS locations, the top 10 C₁S₂-derived hybrids from each of the 10 biparental populations produced 0.5–46.3 and 11.1–55.1 % higher mean grain yields than hybrids developed using pedigree selection and the commercial checks, respectively. Across WW locations, the best 10 hybrids derived from C₁S₂ of each population produced 3.4–13.3 and 7.9–36.5 % higher grain yields than hybrids derived using conventional pedigree breeding and the commercial checks, respectively. Mean days to anthesis of the best 10 C₁S₂ hybrids were comparable to those of hybrids developed using the pedigree method, the founder parents and the commercial checks, with a maximum difference of 3.5 days among the different groups. However, plant height was significantly (P < 0.01) different in most pairwise comparisons. Our results showed the superiority of MARS over pedigree selection for improving diverse tropical maize populations as sources of improved lines for stress-prone environments and thus MARS can be effectively integrated into mainstream maize breeding programs.