– Genetic Analysis of Progenies from Diallel Crosses Among Eight Varieties of Different Maturity Groups of Maize –
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A full-diallel cross comprising eight varieties belonging to four different maturity groups was developed and studied for fifteen characters to determine general and specific combining ability (GCA, SCA), nature of gene action of parents and hybrids, and heterosis.
Eighty-one genotypes comprising the crosses, reciprocals, selves, parents and nine checks were evaluated at Kadawa under irrigation in two different environments (sowing dates).
Analysis of variance revealed significant differences for GCA and SCA, indicating the presence of additive as well as non-additive gene action. In both environments, the GCA mean squares were highly significant and higher than the SCA mean squares for all traits except cob diameter at environment one and four traits at environment two.
The study revealed significant GCA x environment interaction indicating different parental varieties behaved differently under different environments, hence there is a need to select different parental varieties for hybrid production for a specific environment.
1.1 Background of the Study
Zea is a genus belonging to the grass family, Poaceae in the Andropogoneae tribe but is commonly cited in the literature to belong to the tribe Maydeae (Mangelsdorf, 1974). Zea was derived from an old Greek name for a food grass.
The genus Zea consists of four species of which only Zea mays spp. is economically important (Mangelsdorf, 1974). The number of chromosomes in Zea mays is 2n = 20, 21, 22, 24 (FAO, 2000a).
The centre of origin for Zea mays spp. mays have been established as the Mesoamerican region, now Mexico and Central America (Mangelsdorf, 1974).
Archaeological records suggest that domestication of maize began at least 6,000 years ago occurring independently in regions of the South-western United States, Mexico, and Central America (Mangelsdorf, 1974).
Under natural conditions, maize reproduces only by seed production. Pollination occurs with the transfer of pollen from the tassel to the silks of the ear. About 95% of the ovules are cross-pollinated and the rest are self-pollinated (Poehlman, 1959).
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