Plant Molecular Biology Reporter

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 155–165 | Cite as

Quantitative trait locus analysis of drought tolerance and yield in Maize in China

  • Y. N. Xiao
  • X. H. Li
  • M. L. George
  • M. S. Li
  • S. H. Zhang
  • Y. L. Zheng
Genetic Resources


Drought accounts for significant yield losses in crops. Maize (Zea mays L.) is particularly sensitive to water stress at reproductive stages, and breeding to improve drought tolerance has been a challenge. By use of a linkage map with 121 single sequence repeat (SSR) markers, quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for grain yield and yield components were characterized in the population of the cross X178×B73 under water-stressed and well-watered conditions. Under the well-watered regime, 2, 4, 4, 1, 2, 2, and 3 QTLs were identified for grain yield, 100-kernel weight, kernel number per ear, cob weight per ear, kernel weight per ear, ear weight, and ear number per plant, respectively, whereas under the water-stressed conditions, 1, 5, 2, 6, 1, 3, and 2 QTLs, respectively, were found. The significant phenotypic correlations among yield and yield components to some extent were observed under both water conditions, and some overlaps between the corresponding QTLs were also found. QTLs for grain yield and kernel weight per ear under well-watered conditions and ear weight under both well-watered and water-stressed conditions over-lapped, and all were located on chromosome 1.03 near marker bnlg176. Two other noticeable QTL regions were on chromosome 9.05 and 9.07 near markers umc1657 and bnlg1525; the first corresponded to grain yield, kernel weight per ear, and ear weight under well-watered conditions and kernel number per ear under both water conditions, and the second to grain yield and cob weight per ear under water-stressed conditions and ear number per plant under both water conditions. A comparative analysis of the QTLs herein identified with those described in previous studies for yield and yield components in different maize populations revealed a number of QTLs in common. These QTLs have potential use in molecular marker-assisted selection.

Key words

quantitative trait loci water stress yield and yield components Zea mays



100-kernel weight


anthesis-silking interval


cob weight per ear


ear number per plant


ear weight


kernel number per ear


kernel weight per ear


quantitative trait locus


single sequence repeat






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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Crop Breeding and Cultivation, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences; Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Breeding, Ministry of AgricultureAMBIONET-China LabBeijingPR China
  2. 2.National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic ImprovementHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanP.R. China
  3. 3.c/o IRRICIMMYT-Asian Maize Biotechnology NetworkMetro ManilaPhilippines

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