, Volume 195, Issue 2, pp 183–195 | Cite as

Advanced cycle pedigree breeding in sunflower. II: combining ability for oil yield and its components



Combining ability is one of the most important information breeders use to identify superior inbred lines on the basis of their performance in hybrid combinations. The objectives of our study were (i) to quantify the importance of general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) variances for seed yield, oil content and oil yield; and (ii) estimate GCA and SCA effects of seed yield, oil content and oil yield of inbred lines developed from advanced cycle pedigree breeding populations in sunflower. A total of 109 female S3 cytoplasmic male sterile (CMS) lines from four bi-parental populations in advanced cycle pedigree breeding were crossed with two testers to form 218 testcross hybrids (TCHs). The TCHs were then evaluated in three environments. Variance component analysis results showed predominance of σ2gca over σ2sca for seed yield and oil yield indicating that superior TCHs can be identified based on positive and significant GCA effects of the female lines. For oil content σ2sca was predominant over σ2gca indicating that selecting for TCHs with high oil content would be best among line × tester combinations and not among female S3CMS lines per se. The proportion of GCA and SCA effects in the best five TCHs in each breeding population also confirmed the predominance of GCA effects over SCA effects for seed yield and oil yield while for oil content both GCA and SCA effects appear to be important, with SCA effects having more influence than GCA. The best selection strategy would therefore be to capture the GCA in the early stages of inbreeding and then SCA for the few unique combinations when lines are almost fixed.


General combining ability (GCA) Helianthus annuus Narrow sense heritability Specific combining ability (SCA) 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARC-Grain Crops InstitutePotchefstroomSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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