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Association between AFLP-based genetic distance and hybrid performance in tropical maize

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Identifying the best inbred combinations for the development of commercial hybrid maize varieties remains the main challenge to maize breeders. The aim of this work was to study associations between the genetic distance (GD) of 21 inbreds and the corresponding F1 phenotypic data. Furthermore, the impact of grouping lines into genetically similar clusters was investigated. The 21 inbred lines were fingerprinted using amplified fragment length polymorphism markers. Parents and 210 F1 progeny were evaluated in the field. Joint data analysis mostly revealed a tighter association between GD and the F1 performance or mid parent heterosis in the intergroup than in the intragroup crosses. Despite these correlations, intergoup crosses should always be field-tested before their release. Crosses showing low GD values should be discarded to avoid field-testing costs. Better F1 hybrid performance predictions can be achieved by integrating molecular and F1 phenotypic data.
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Keywords: Zea mays; genetic distance; grouping; heterosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Uyole Agricultural Research Institute, PO Box 400, Mbeya, Tanzania

Publication date: 01 April 2008

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