, Volume 162, Issue 3, pp 353–362 | Cite as

Combining ability amongst CIMMYT’s early maturing maize (Zea mays L.) germplasm under stress and non-stress conditions and identification of testers

  • Alexander Pswarayi
  • Bindiganavile S. Vivek


CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Research Institute) Zimbabwe’s early maturing maize program, which aims to supply seed to approximately 4 million hectares of maize area in eastern and southern Africa, lacks adequate information on heterotic relationships among early maturing germplasm and has no early maturing testers for hybrid development. Open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) and hybrids are the products targeted for this region. Among the hybrids, three-way and double-cross hybrids are desired. Thus the use of single crosses as testers would be an appropriate choice for such a breeding program as one could potentially identify three-way combinations during the early generation test. A twelve-parent diallel was formed and crosses evaluated to identify heterotic groups and single-cross testers. Crosses were evaluated under four different environments in Zimbabwe, two optimal, one low nitrogen stress and one drought stress. P5 (an early maturing line from heterotic group A) and CML 395 (a late maturing inbred line from heterotic group B) were used as reference parents to establish heterotic groupings of germplasm used in the diallel. The single cross (P7/P8) was identified as a potential group A tester because of: (a) co-classification of inbred lines into heterotic group A, (b) good yields-9.8 t/ha (optimal), 3.4 t/ha (low nitrogen) and 2.1 t/ha (drought); and (c) good GCA effects for grain yield (0.49 t/ha) of line P7 while line P8 contributed to reduced height and anthesis-silking interval.


General combining ability Specific combining ability Testers Heterotic groups Combining ability effects 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Vegetal I Ciencia ForestalETSEALleidaSpain
  2. 2.CIMMYTMount Pleasant, HarareZimbabwe

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