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Diallel analysis of acid soil tolerant and susceptible maize inbred lines for grain yield under acid and non-acid soil conditions

Mutimaamba, Charles, MacRobert, John, Cairns, JillE., Magorokosho, CosmosE., Ndhlela, Thokozile, Mukungurutse, Collis, Minnaar-Ontong, Adré, Labuschagne, MarykeT.
Euphytica 2017 v.213 no.4 pp. 88
Zea mays, acid soils, additive gene effects, corn, diallel analysis, general combining ability, genes, genotype, grain yield, hybrids, inbred lines, plant breeding, soil pH, soil texture, specific combining ability
Maize is not inherently tolerant to soil acidity but due to the ever increasing demand for the crop in the developing world, production of maize on acid soils continues to expand. Breeding for maize acid soil tolerance is the best strategy to improve yield under these conditions. Therefore, the current study was done to determine the general combining ability (GCA) of eight acid-soil tolerant and susceptible inbred lines and the specific combining ability (SCA) of cross combinations of these lines for grain yield under acid and non-acid soils. The eight lines were crossed using a diallel mating design to produce 28 single cross hybrids for evaluation under acid and non-acid soils at four sites for two seasons. Line C2 was the best general combiner under both soil environments while A2/C1 and A1/C2 had the highest desirable SCA effects under optimal conditions. Loss in grain yield and sensitivity to low pH stress was higher among genotypes in light textured soils than heavy soils. Non-additive gene action was more important than additive gene action in conditioning grain yield under both environments. Results revealed that it was feasible to improve grain yield under low pH and optimum soils from the set of genotypes used in the current study.