Development of hybrids is considered to be a promising avenue to enhance the yield potential of crops. We investigated (i) the amount of heterosis observed in hybrid progeny, (ii) relative importance of general (GCA) versus specific (SCA) combining ability, and (iii) the relationship between heterosis and genetic distance measures in four agronomic traits of spring bread wheat. Eight male and 14 female lines, as well as 112 hybrids produced in a factorial design were grown in replicated trials at two environments in Mexico. Principal coordinate analysis based on Rogers' distance (RD) estimates calculated from 113 SSRs revealed three different groups of parents. Mid-parent heterosis (MPH) for grain yield averaged 0.02 t ha−1 (0.5%) and varied from −15.33% to 14.13%. MPH and hybrid performance (F1P) were higher for intra-group hybrids than for inter-group hybrids, with low values observed in inter-group crosses involving two non-adapted Chinese parents. Combined analyses of variance revealed significant differences among parents and among hybrids. Estimates of GCA variances were more important than SCA variances for all traits. Tight correlations of GCA with line per se performance, and mid-parent value with F1P were observed for all traits. In contrast, correlations of MPH with RD and coefficient of parentage were not significant. It was concluded that the level of heterosis in spring wheat was too low to warrant a commercial exploitation in hybrids. SSRs proved to be a powerful tool for the identification of divergent groups in advanced wheat breeding materials.
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Dreisigacker, S., Melchinger, A.E., Zhang, P. et al. Hybrid performance and heterosis in spring bread wheat, and their relations to SSR-based genetic distances and coefficients of parentage. Euphytica 144, 51–59 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-005-4053-2
- coefficient of parentage
- general combining ability
- genetic distance
- hybrid performance
- simple sequence repeats
- specific combining ability