Main content area

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.