Heterosis for grain yield and its components in pearl millet topcrosses

Yahia D. Eldie1, Abu Elhassan S. Ibrahim, Adam M. Ali


Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.) cultivars for marginal, arid environments need to combine adaptation to stress conditions with relatively high grain yields. The experiments were carried out in Sudan during the rainy season of 2006 at two locations (Wad Medani and Elgedarif) in a randomized complete block design following line x tester arrangement. The traits measured were days to 50% flowering, plant height, stover, panicle, biomass and grain yields. The highest grain yield was recorded by SADC togo x ICMA96222 (3234 kg/ha) at Wad Medani and ICMV155 x ICMA99111 (3734 kg/ha) at Elgedarif. Average over the two locations, the highest mean grain yield (3086 kg/ha) was obtained by the hybrid Dembi yellow x ICMA97333 which exceeded the overall mean best parent by 1227 kg/ha. The hybrids showing highly positive heterosis for grain yield were Dembi yellow x ICMA96222 and Baladi white x ICMA97333, at Wad Medani, whereas Topcross x ICMA99111 and ICMV155 x ICMA99111 showed the highest heterosis at Elgedarif. In combined analysis Baladi yellow x ICMA97333 showed the highest heterosis followed by Dembi yellow x ICMA97333 and SADC togo x ICMA96222. However, these crosses had high performance per se for grain yield and other characters. Significant amount of heterosis observed in landrace-based topcross hybrids for grain yield and other related traits suggested that pearl millet high grain yield production can be obtained by topcrossing locally adapted landraces on suitable male-sterile lines.

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