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Creation of new maize germplasm using alien introgression from Zea mays ssp. mexicana

Wang, Lingzhi, Yang, Aifang, He, Chunmei, Qu, Mingli, Zhang, Juren
Euphytica 2008 v.164 no.3 pp. 789-801
Zea mays subsp. mexicana, wild relatives, Zea mays, corn, hybridization, plant breeding, introgression, lines, genetic recombination, in situ hybridization, genome, grain yield, agronomic traits
Zea mays ssp. mexicana, an annual wild relative of maize, has many desirable characteristics for maize improvement. To transfer alien genetic germplasm into maize background, F₁ hybrids were generated by using Z. mays ssp. mexicana as the female parent and cultivated maize inbred line Ye515 as the male parent. Alien introgression lines, with a large range of genetic diversity, were produced by backcross and successive self-pollinations. A number of alien introgression lines with the predominant traits of cultivated maize were selected. Genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) proved that small chromosome segments of Z. mays ssp. mexicana had been integrated into the maize genome. Some outstanding alien introgression lines were evaluated in performance trials which showed 54.6% hybrids had grain yield greater than that of hybrid check Yedan12 which possessed 50% Ye515 parentage, and 17.1, 9.9% hybrids had grain yield competitive or greater than those of Nongda108 and Zheng958, which were elite commercial hybrids in China, respectively. The results indicated that some of the introgression lines had excellent agronomic traits and combining ability for maize cultivar, and demonstrated that Z. mays ssp. mexicana was a valuable source for maize breeding, and could be used to broaden and enrich the maize germplasm.