Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 114, Issue 6, pp 1059–1070 | Cite as

Quantitative trait loci for early plant vigour of maize grown in chilly environments

  • Thomas Presterl
  • Milena Ouzunova
  • Walter Schmidt
  • Evelyn M. Möller
  • Frank K. Röber
  • Carsten Knaak
  • Karin Ernst
  • Peter Westhoff
  • Hartwig H. Geiger
Original paper


Maize (Zea mays L.) is particularly sensitive to chilling in the early growth stages. The objective of this study was to determine quantitative trait loci (QTL) for early plant vigour of maize grown under cool and moderately warm conditions in Central Europe. A population of 720 doubled haploid (DH) lines was derived from a cross between two dent inbred lines contrasting in early vigour and were genotyped with 188 SSR markers. The DH lines per se and their testcrosses with a flint line were evaluated in field experiments across 11 environments in 2001 and 2002. Plants were harvested after six to eight leaves had been fully developed to assess fresh matter yield as a criterion of early vigour. Seven QTL were detected for line performance and ten QTL for testcross performance, explaining 64 and 49% of the genetic variance. Six out of seven QTL detected in the lines per se were also significant in their testcrosses. Significant QTL × environment interaction was observed, but no relationship existed between the size of the QTL effects and the mean temperature in the individual environment. The correlation between fresh matter yield and days to silking was non-significant, indicating that differences in early plant vigour were not simply caused by maturity differences. For three additional chilling-related traits, leaf chlorosis, leaf purpling, and frost damage seven, six, and five QTL were detected, respectively. Three QTL for leaf chlorosis, two for leaf purpling, and two for frost damage co-localized with QTL for fresh matter yield. Results are considered as a reliable basis for further genetic, molecular, and physiological investigations.


Quantitative Trait Locus Doubled Haploid Quantitative Trait Locus Analysis Doubled Haploid Line Major Quantitative Trait Locus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study would not have been possible without the efforts of Jochen Jesse, Thomas Schmidt, Helmut Bimek, Herald Pöschel, Dietrich Klein, Dieter Wiebe, Gizo Zieger, Ute Mund, Elke Löhnhardt, Hartmut Meyer, and Hans Hilscher along with the staff at the Hohenheim, Oberer Lindenhof, Eckartsweier, Bernburg, Einbeck, Gondelsheim, and Chartres experimental stations who carefully managed the field experiments. Very special thanks to Silvia Koch and Hans Seifert, who were responsible for coordinating the field experiments and who assisted the authors in analysing the large amounts of data. Many thanks go to H. Friedrich Utz for helpful comments regarding the data analysis, and to Cornelia Glass and the team at PLANTA for running the marker analyses. The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Bonn, and the KWS SAAT AG, Einbeck, Germany, in the frame of the German Plant Genome Research Program GABI.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Presterl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Milena Ouzunova
    • 2
  • Walter Schmidt
    • 2
  • Evelyn M. Möller
    • 1
  • Frank K. Röber
    • 1
    • 4
  • Carsten Knaak
    • 2
  • Karin Ernst
    • 3
  • Peter Westhoff
    • 3
  • Hartwig H. Geiger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science, and Population Genetics (350)University of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.KWS SAAT AGEinbeckGermany
  3. 3.Institut für Entwicklungs- und Molekularbiologie der PflanzenHeinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  4. 4.RastattGermany

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