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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 51 No. 1, p. 13-20
    Received: Apr 15, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): mshunli@yahoo.com.cn
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Genetic Contribution to Advanced Yield for Maize Hybrids Released from 1970 to 2000 in China

  1. Xiaoke Ciac,
  2. Mingshun Li *a,
  3. Xiaoling Liangb,
  4. Zhenjiang Xiea,
  5. Degui Zhanga,
  6. Xinhai Lia,
  7. Zhenyu Lua,
  8. Gaolin Rua,
  9. Li Baia,
  10. Chuanxiao Xiea,
  11. Zhuanfang Haoa and
  12. Shihuang Zhanga
  1. a Maize Center, Dep. of Crop Genetics and Breeding, Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, No. 12 Zhong-guan-cun South Street, Haidian District, Beijing, China 100081
    c State Key Lab. of Crop Biology of Shandong Agricultural Univ., No.61 Dai-zong Street, Taishan District, Taian City, Shandong Province, China
    b Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, No. 403 Nan-chang Road, Urumchi City, Xinjiang Province, China 830091


Four to five cycles of maize (Zea mays L.) hybrid replacement have occurred in China since the 1970s. Retrospective analyses of genetic yield may provide an understanding of unexploited genetic potential and indicate pathways for future yield improvement. The objective of this study was to assess genetic gains in grain yield, especially those due to increased tolerance to stress in China from the 1970s through the 2000s. Trials were conducted at two locations per year and three densities per location during the 2005–2006 (Exp. 1) and 2007–2008 (Exp. 2) growing seasons. Over a 40-yr period, the genetic gain in yield averaged 94.7% kg ha−1 per year and 53% of this was attributable to breeding undertaken in China. The newer hybrids showed increased tolerance to compound stress. We estimated that the contribution of stress tolerance to genetic yield gain was equal to 46 or 74% at 60,000 or 75,000 plants ha−1, respectively. Yield improvement has occurred at a slow pace at densities of 60,000 and 75,000 plants ha−1 in China. Further increasing maize grain yield in China will be achieved through higher plant populations, and this will require breeding for greater stress tolerance.

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