HETEROSIS AND COMBINING ABILITY IN A DIALLEL AMONG ELITE INBRED LINES OF MAIZE(ZEA MAYS L.)
Keywords:Heterosis, Plant breeding, Combining ability, Maize, Quantitative breeding
Heterosis and combining ability was studied for grain yield, days to tasseling, days to silking, plant height and ear height in a diallel cross involving seven elite maize inbred lines. Variance due to GCA and SCA were highly significant for the characters studied, indicating both additive and non-additive type of gene action were important for controlling the traits. Predominance of non-additive gene action was observed for all the traits. Standard heterosis for grain yield ranged from -17.60 to 9.71%. For other traits, desirable heterosis varied from -0.10 to -4.42%; -0.03 to -4.20%; -2.44 to -42.11% and -1.33 to -21.87% for days to tasseling, days to silking, plant height and ear height, respectively. Parent Q7 was the best general combiner for higher grain yield coupled with dwarfness, and Q1 was also good general combiner for grain yield and lateness in maturity. For other traits, parent Q2, Q3 and Q4 were found suitable both for days to tasseling and silking and Q4, Q5 and Q7 for both plant and ear height showing desirable significant negative GCA effects and simultaneously possessed desirable high mean values, indicating that per se performance of the parents could prove as an useful index for combining ability. Additive × additive, additive × dominance and dominance × dominance gene interactions were involved in deriving good specific cross for yield. The cross combinations Q1 × Q7, Q2 × Q3, Q4 × Q6 and Q6 × Q7 possessing significant desirable SCA effects and high heterotic values might be used for obtaining high yielding hybrids.