, Volume 145, Issue 6, pp 525–539 | Cite as

Genomic-based-breeding tools for tropical maize improvement

  • Thammineni Chakradhar
  • Vemuri Hindu
  • Palakolanu Sudhakar Reddy


Maize has traditionally been the main staple diet in the Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and widely grown by millions of resource poor small scale farmers. Approximately, 35.4 million hectares are sown to tropical maize, constituting around 59% of the developing worlds. Tropical maize encounters tremendous challenges besides poor agro-climatic situations with average yields recorded <3 tones/hectare that is far less than the average of developed countries. On the contrary to poor yields, the demand for maize as food, feed, and fuel is continuously increasing in these regions. Heterosis breeding introduced in early 90 s improved maize yields significantly, but genetic gains is still a mirage, particularly for crop growing under marginal environments. Application of molecular markers has accelerated the pace of maize breeding to some extent. The availability of array of sequencing and genotyping technologies offers unrivalled service to improve precision in maize-breeding programs through modern approaches such as genomic selection, genome-wide association studies, bulk segregant analysis-based sequencing approaches, etc. Superior alleles underlying complex traits can easily be identified and introgressed efficiently using these sequence-based approaches. Integration of genomic tools and techniques with advanced genetic resources such as nested association mapping and backcross nested association mapping could certainly address the genetic issues in maize improvement programs in developing countries. Huge diversity in tropical maize and its inherent capacity for doubled haploid technology offers advantage to apply the next generation genomic tools for accelerating production in marginal environments of tropical and subtropical world. Precision in phenotyping is the key for success of any molecular-breeding approach. This article reviews genomic technologies and their application to improve agronomic traits in tropical maize breeding has been reviewed in detail.


Maize Next generation sequencing (NGS) Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) Genomic selection (GS) QTL-seq Phenotyping Informatics tools 



The authors wish to thank Dr. Suri M. Sehgal, founder of SM Sehgal foundation for his continuous support and encouragement for corn improvement in developing countries.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thammineni Chakradhar
    • 1
  • Vemuri Hindu
    • 2
  • Palakolanu Sudhakar Reddy
    • 3
  1. 1.Sehgal FoundationC/o International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)HyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologySri Padmavati Mahila VisvavidyalayamTirupatiIndia
  3. 3.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)HyderabadIndia

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