combining ability and heterosis for agronomic and quality traits in local maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids

Ahmad A. Elali Elkhalf, Eltahir S. Ali, Abu Elhassan S. Ibrahim


Eight local maize inbred lines were used in half diallel crosses to generate 28 F1 hybrids. These hybrids and their parents were grown to determine the general (GCA), specific combining abilities (SCA) and heterosis for grain yield and quality traits. They were arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) at Gezira (GRS) and Matuq Research Stations (MRS), Sudan. GCA effects were not significant for all studied traits at both locations with the exception of days to silking and ear height at GRS, while SCA effects were significant for all the studied traits at both locations except for ear height across locations. The ratio of GCA to SCA was less than one for most of the studied traits at both locations; hence, non-additive gene action (dominance and epistatic interactions) was important for the inheritance of these traits. High GCA effects for grain yield at GRS were obtained for the parents L-7, L-1 and L-3, while L-7 and L-1 had the best GCA for most of the studied traits contributing towards high performance at both locations. L-14×L-7 (4766 t/ha) and L-11×L-7 (4420 t/ha) were the best crosses for grain yield. The crosses L-11xL-1, L-14xL-12 and L-11xL-14 showed the highest oil content, L-12×L-3 and L-13×L-9 had the highest protein content and  L-11×L-1 and L-11×L-12 gave the highest starch content. The crosses L-14×L-7, L-14×L-3, L-12×L-7, L-7×L-1 and L-11×L-3 had


the best SCA effects for grain yield and heterotic values. Crosses with high mean performance, high values of SCA and heterosis for grain yield indicate a considerable potential of local maize inbred lines to produce new hybrids with high grain yield and quality.


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