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Crop Science Abstract -

Recessive, Day Length-Insensitive Earliness to Synchronize Flowering of Pearl Millet Hybrid Parents


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 39 No. 4, p. 1049-1054
    Received: July 17, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): f.bidinger@cgiar.org
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  1. F. R. Bidinger ,
  2. C. T. Hash,
  3. R. Jayachandran and
  4. M. N. V. Ratnaji Rao
  1. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, ICRISAT , Patancheru PO, Andhra Pradesh 502 324, India.



The availability of recessive genes for early flowering-day length insensitivity offers an opportunity to synchronize the flowering of late-flowering or day length-sensitive parents with that of early-flowering parents without necessarily affecting the flowering of their hybrids, provided that the earlier parent does not carry the same recessive allele. This study evaluated the hypothesis that incorporating the recessive e1 allele for early flowering-day length insensitivity into a late-flowering, photoperiod-sensitive pollinator in pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] would synchronize its flowering and improve seed production with earlier-flowering female parents, without affecting the time to flowering or the performance of the resulting hybrids. An e1/e1 isoline of the late-flowering pollinator ICMP85 410, produced by six backcrosses, flowered 16 d earlier under natural day lengths at Patancheru, India, (17°N) and 19 d earlier under extended day lengths (equivalent to 29°N) than its near isogenic E1/E1 counterpart. As a consequence, it successfully produced hybrid seed when sown simultaneously with early, male-sterile line 843A, whereas the late isoline failed under the same conditions. The E1/e1 versions of eight near-isogenic hybrids (on a range of eight E1/E1 male-steriles) flowered an average of 3 d earlier than their E1/E1 counterparts in 2 yr of tests under both natural and extended day length conditions at the same location. This earlier flowering had small effects on hybrid yield components, consistent with known effects of earliness in the crop, but did not affect grain yield. The results indicate that the e1 allele is a powerful tool for exploiting heterosis between early- and late-flowering parents in pearl millet, which is otherwise difficult to realize without complicated seed production practices.

ICRISAT Journal Article No. 2247.

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