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Genetic variability and heterotic groups of Brazilian popcorn populations

Miranda, Glauco Vieira, de Souza, Leandro Vagno, Galvão, João Carlos Cardoso, Guimarães, Lauro José Moreira, de Melo, Aurélio Vaz, dos Santos, Izabel Cristina
Euphytica 2008 v.162 no.3 pp. 431-440
cultivars, Zea mays, heterosis, popcorn, plant breeding, popping quality, grain yield, yield components, additive gene effects, Brazil
The development of successful advanced lines and cultivars in maize is dependent on parental selection and assignment to defined heterotic groups. So, the objectives of this study were to evaluate genetic variability and identify heterotic groups among Brazilian popcorn varieties. Thus, diallel crosses of advanced generations of the popcorn hybrids, IAC 112 and Zélia, and of three open-pollinated popcorn varieties, RS 20, Branco, and SAM were performed. Ten hybrid combinations, the five parents, and five check treatments were arranged in a block design with four replicates in two tropical-zone locations (CWb climate). Both additive and non-additive effects were important for grain yield, plant height, ear height, and husk cover. For popping expansion, only the additive effects were important. Hybrid combinations between the local variety (Branco) and F₂ populations (IAC 112 and Zelia) resulted in the third and fourth highest values for popping expansion. The best grain yields were obtained with hybrid combinations involving SAM. Cultivars Zélia, IAC 112, and RS 20 increased popping expansion, whereas cultivar Branco increased grain yield of hybrid combinations. The following conclusions may be drawn: Brazilian popcorn populations have reduced heterosis and genetic variability to popping expansion in relation commercial cultivars; there is genetic variability among Brazilian popcorn populations that allows the exploitation of additive and non-additive effects for grain yield; it is possible to increase grain yield by using local varieties; but it would be difficult to obtain commercial hybrids from local varieties because they have poor performance for popping expansion.