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Doubled haploids in tropical maize: II. Quantitative genetic parameters for testcross performance


Single crosses (SC) of elite inbreds and open-pollinated populations (OP) are suitable source germplasm for doubled haploid (DH) line development in hybrid maize breeding, given that they combine a high population mean (\( \overline{x} \)) for testcross performance with adequate response to selection (\( \Updelta G \)). This is the first study reporting testcross grain yield (TCGY) and dry matter content (TCDMC) evaluations of 131 DH lines developed from ten tropical source germplasm comprising five OP (OP1–OP5) and five SC (SC1–SC5). Gene diversity (d) and the average number of alleles (a r ) per locus was estimated for DH lines based on 24 simple sequence repeat markers. Analysis across three environments revealed no significant differences between \( \overline{x} \) of OP- and SC-derived DH lines for TCGY and TCDMC. Significant genetic variance for both traits was only detected among OP-derived DH lines which may be explained by a larger number of segregating quantitative trait loci (QTL) as suggested by higher d and a r values than in SC-derived DH lines. The usefulness criterion (\( U = \overline{x} + \Updelta G \)) was higher for OP-derived DH lines for TCDMC, but higher for SC-derived DH lines for TCGY. DH lines from OP1, OP2, and OP3 showed high TCGY, suggesting that they may be useful in tropical hybrid breeding. We conclude that tropical OP represent a valuable source of untapped genetic variation that can efficiently be exploited with DH technology for hybrid maize breeding.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center


Doubled haploid


Open-pollinated population(s)


Quantitative trait loci


Single cross(es)


Simple sequence repeat


Testcross dry matter content


Testcross grain yield


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We dedicate this paper to Dr. Suketoshi Taba, maize genetic resources specialist and head of CIMMYT’s maize germplasm collection for many years, on the occasion of his retirement. We greatly appreciate the donation of DH lines from OP2-OP5 by KWS SAAT AG, Germany. Further, we thank Ing. Ciro Sánchez and co-workers at CIMMYT’s experimental stations and Dr. Mauro Sierra and co-workers at INIFAP, Cotaxtla for their skilled technical assistance in field experimentation. Vanessa Prigge gratefully acknowledges the financial support by the Eiselen Foundation Ulm, Germany for her research as a joint Ph.D. student between CIMMYT and the University of Hohenheim, Germany. The financial support provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA, USA, through the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Albrecht E. Melchinger.

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Supplemental Fig. 1. Joint unweighted neighbor-joining dendrogram based on Rogers’ distance determined with 24 simple sequence repeat markers on doubled haploid lines developed from five open-pollinated populations (green) and five elite single crosses (blue). For pedigrees of groups see Table 1. (PDF 37 kb)

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Prigge, V., Babu, R., Das, B. et al. Doubled haploids in tropical maize: II. Quantitative genetic parameters for testcross performance. Euphytica 185, 453–463 (2012).

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  • Doubled haploid
  • Tropical maize
  • Testcross performance
  • Usefulness