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Bernardo Ordás, Rosa A. Malvar, Amando Ordás, and Pedro Revilla

Reciprocal effects in sugary × sugary enhancer hybrids of sweet corn (Zea mays L.) have been only reported for sugar content and in a very limited number of hybrids and have not been determined for agronomic traits. By evaluating 34 sugary × sugary enhancer hybrids with reciprocals in three environments, the main objectives of this work were, for agronomic and quality traits, to determine the presence or absence of reciprocal differences in the sugary × sugary enhancer hybrids, to study the interest of using sugary inbreds as seed parents of the sugary × sugary enhancer hybrids, and to determine if reciprocal differences are interacting with different genetic backgrounds and different environments. For agronomic traits as emergence, early vigor, and silking date, significant (P ≤ 0.05) reciprocal differences were found in many of the sugary × sugary enhancer hybrids, but for quality traits, significant (P ≤ 0.05) reciprocal differences were only found in a few hybrids. The sugary lines as seed parents of the crosses tended to have on average a favorable effect on agronomic traits, but this was only considerable in some environmental conditions. The difference between the sugary and sugary enhancer lines as seed parent of the crosses was strongly influenced by the genetic background.

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Bernardo Ordás, Pedro Revilla, Pilar Soengas, Amando Ordás, and Rosa A. Malvar

The better emergence and seedling vigor of sweet corn (Zea mays L.) hybrids homozygous for the gene sugary1 (su1) make them more suitable for cultivation under European Atlantic conditions (cold, wet spring) than those homozygous for other traits. Elite sweet corn inbreds homozygous for both su1 and sugary enhancer1 (se1) could improve the table quality of su1 hybrids. The su1se1 inbreds for improving su1su1 hybrid performance can be chosen in several ways. The aim of this paper was to identify donors among su1se1 inbreds that might improve the quality of su1 hybrids. Eight su1se1 inbreds were crossed with eight su1 inbreds that were parents of fifteen su1 hybrids. Hybrids and inbreds were cultivated next to one another in two locations in northwestern Spain in 1999 and 2000. Several possible estimators for identifying su1se1 inbred donors with favorable alleles lacking in the su1 hybrid were determined. These estimators included the relative number of favorable alleles present in the donor but absent in the hybrid (μǴ), predicted three-way cross (PTC), minimum upper bound (UBND), net improvement (NI), probability of the net gain of favorable alleles when there is complete dominance (PNGg), probability of the net gain of favorable alleles when there is partial dominance or epistasis (PNGceg), and general combining ability (GCA). μǴ and NI were chosen for improving hybrid table quality. These estimators indicate that table quality and other traits of su1 hybrids can be improved by using germplasm from the su1se1 inbred lines. The best donor of quality for most of the hybrids was the inbred line IL731a.

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Pablo Velasco, Rosa A. Malvar, Ana Butrón, Pedro Revilla, and Amando Ordás

Pink stem borer (Sesamia nonagrioides Lef.) is one of the most important insect pests of corn (Zea mays L.) in southern Europe. The objectives of this work were to determine the level of resistance in different sweet corn inbreds and to identify sources of resistance to ear feeding by the pink stem borer. Twenty-eight sweet corn (su1 and su1se1) inbreds and four resistant field corn (Su1Se1) inbreds were evaluated for ear resistance at different sowing dates, under two methods of artificial infestation. There were significant differences between infestation methods for ears with damaged grain, husks, cobs, and shanks. The inbred×infestation method interaction was significant for general appearance of the ear. The most resistant inbreds were identified by using mean comparisons and principal component analysis of ear damage traits. All inbreds were damaged. Hence, resistance was incomplete and in need of improvement. EP59, H3, I5125, IL767b, and V7726 were the most resistant sweet corn inbreds, which did not differ significantly from A635, the most resistant field corn inbred. General appearance of the ear appears to be a good indicator of pink stem borer resistance and can be used in preliminary evaluation. Variability exists in the resistance of these sweet inbreds to the pink stem borer and the use of field corn inbreds may not be necessary in the improvement of resistance, although further research is needed to determine if the sources differ in the pertinent genes conferring resistance.