, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 265-273

The races of maize: III. choices of appropriate characters for racial classification

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Analyses of variance for 111 characters from 55 races and subraces of maize from eastern South America grown at Piracicaba, S. P., Brazil, between 1960 and 1965, indicated that those characters which were least affected by environmental factors and interactions were reproductive characters. In particular, the component of variance due to differences among races for certain ear and kernel characters was greater than the sum of the corresponding components due to differences among years and race by year interactions. The converse was true for all vegetative characters. Tassel characters tended to be intermediate between ear and plant characters.

While some indices had larger components of variance attributable to racial differences than to the effects of environment and/or environmental interaction, some commonly used ones, such as cob/rachis and rachilla/kernel indices, proved to be quite susceptible to environmental influences. Again, indices based upon solely vegetative characters were consistently influenced more strongly by environmental factors and interaction than were those based on reproductive characters.

Paper No. 2823 of the Journal Series of the North Carolina State University Agricultural Experiment Station, Raleigh, North Carolina. This investigation was supported in part by Public Health Service Grant GM 11546.