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Genetic analysis of tropical quality protein maize (Zea mays L.) germplasm

Njeri, Susan G., Makumbi, Dan, Warburton, Marilyn L., Diallo, Alpha, Jumbo, MacDonald B., Chemining’wa, George
Euphytica 2017 v.213 no.11 pp. 261
Zea mays, additive gene effects, agronomic traits, carbohydrates, corn, diet, general combining ability, genetic analysis, genetic distance, genetic variation, germplasm, grain yield, hybrids, inbred lines, population structure, prediction, single nucleotide polymorphism, specific combining ability, water stress, Sub-Saharan Africa
Maize (Zea mays L.) is an important source of carbohydrates and protein in the diet in sub-Saharan Africa. The objectives of this study were to (i) estimate general (GCA) and specific combining abilities (SCA) of 13 new quality protein maize (QPM) lines in a diallel under stress and non-stress conditions, (ii) compare observed and predicted performance of QPM hybrids, (iii) characterize genetic diversity among the 13 QPM lines using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and assess the relationship between genetic distance and hybrid performance, and (iv) assess diversity and population structure in 116 new QPM inbred lines as compared to eight older tropical QPM lines and 15 non-QPM lines. The GCA and SCA effects were significant for most traits under optimal conditions, indicating that both additive and non-additive genetic effects were important for inheritance of the traits. Additive genetic effects appeared to govern inheritance of most traits under optimal conditions and across environments. Non-additive genetic effects were more important for inheritance of grain yield but additive effects controlled most agronomic traits under drought stress conditions. Inbred lines CKL08056, CKL07292, and CKL07001 had desirable GCA effects for grain yield across drought stress and non-stress conditions. Prediction efficiency for grain yield was highest under optimal conditions. The classification of 139 inbred lines with 95 SNPs generated six clusters, four of which contained 10 or fewer lines, and 16 lines of mixed co-ancestry. There was good agreement between Neighbor Joining dendrogram and Structure classification. The QPM lines used in the diallel were nearly uniformly spread throughout the dendrogram. There was no relationship between genetic distance and grain yield in either the optimal or stressed environments in this study. The genetic diversity in mid-altitude maize germplasm is ample, and the addition of the QPM germplasm did not increase it measurably.