Genetic Analysis of Pericarp Thickness in Progenies of Eight Corn Hybrids

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Authors:
Glenn M. ItoDepartment of Horticulture, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822

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James L. BrewbakerDepartment of Horticulture, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822

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Pericarp thickness in maize (Zea mays L.) was analyzed by generation mean analysis for backcross and F2 populations from eight hybrids, derived from two thin-pericarped sweet corn inbreds—AA8 and 677a (55 and 51 μm)—crossed with four field corn inbreds—B37, B68, H55, and Hi26 (range 82-132 μm). Average heterosis was −12.5% and segregating progeny distributions were skewed toward those of thin-pericarped parents. Narrow-sense heritability was high, averaging 55.2%, and the number of effective factors was low, ranging from 1.4 to 5.9 and averaging 3.3. Epistatic effects were as large as additive or dominance effects in many crosses, urging caution in applying models that exclude gene interactions to determine variance components and heritabilities. The mode of action in reducing pericarp thickness appeared to differ among the two thin parents, with AA8 affecting the differential thickening of germinal vs. abgerminal walls, and 677a reducing the number of pericarp cell layers. All genetic parameters suggested that genetic progress in backcross conversions to thin pericarp in sweet corn breeding would be rapid irrespective of the pericarp thickness of exotic parents.

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