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Crop Science Abstract -

Retention of Genetically Superior Lines during Early-Generation Testcrossing of Maize


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 32 No. 4, p. 933-937
    Received: Aug 2, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Rex Bernardo 
  1. Limagrain Genetics, 737 Co. Rd. 1200 N, Champaign, IL 61821



Selection of partially inbred maize (Zea mays L.) lines, based on early-generation testcross performance, involve some risk of losing lines that would eventually perform well in testcrosses at homozygosity. The objectives of this study were to calculate the probabilities of retainingenetically superior lines during early testing and examine selection intensities appropriate for differentesting generations and levels of heritability. Expected genetic and phenotypic correlations among testcrosses at different selfing generations were used to calculate the conditional probabilities that (i) the testcross genetic value of a homozygous (SI) line is in the upper aI of the distribution, given that the testcross phenotypic value of its ancestral Sn line is in the upper an of the distribution; and (ii) the testcross phenotypic value an Sn line is in the upper an of the distribution, given that the testcross genetic value of its descendant SI line is in the upper aI of the distribution. Low heritability values severely decrease the effectiveness of early testing. If heritability is low, selfing for two or three generations prior to test crossing may be desirable to increase the likelihood of retaining lines that would perform well at homozygosity. Larger proportions of lines need to be retained at earlier than at later selfing generations to prevent excessive loss of genetically superior lines. The conditional probabilities given in this paper may help breeders choose a combination of stage of test crossing and selection intensity that would allow a balance between number of lines retained for further testing and risk of losing genetically superior lines.

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