, Volume 191, Issue 2, pp 245–257 | Cite as

Combining ability and GGE biplot analyses for resistance to northern leaf blight in tropical and subtropical elite maize inbred lines



The incidence and severity of northern leaf blight (NLB) disease has increased in Southern Africa in the past years with previously resistant cultivars being affected; implying more resistant sources have to be identified and inheritance of NLB resistance investigated. Therefore, 45 F1 hybrids generated in a half diallel mating of ten elite maize inbred lines were evaluated in six environments for combining ability, genotype × environment interaction and effect of NLB disease on grain yield. General and specific combining ability (GCA and SCA) were highly significant (P < 0.001) for both NLB disease and grain yield. The GCA/SCA ratio was close to unity for both NLB (0.96) and grain yield (0.89), indicating predominance of additive over non-additive gene action for the traits in these inbred lines. Parent P2 and P7 had good GCA for both NLB disease resistance and high grain yield. The NLB disease ratings on the maize hybrids and inbreds ranged from 1.0 to 8.5 (approximately 0–75 % severity). Negative slope coefficients of the linear regression indicated maize yield decrease of 280–610 kg ha−1 for NLB final disease severity of about 25–75 %, respectively, stressing the need for resistant cultivars to manage the disease. Genotype and (genotype × environment) (GGE) biplots indicated absence of crossover interaction and revealed positive associations among environments, signifying the suitability of all the environments for disease screening. Therefore, the significant additive effects for NLB disease and grain yield entail that breeding progress would be made through selection and a few disease ‘hot-spot’ sites, such as Cedara (South Africa) and Mpongwe (Zambia) can be used for disease screening.


Combining ability Genotype × environment interaction Gene action Maize (Zea mays L.) Northern leaf blight Yield reduction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.African Centre for Crop Improvement, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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