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Estimating genetic gains for tolerance to stress combinations in tropical maize hybrids
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Maize is a strategic food crop in sub-Saharan Africa. However, most maize growing tropical savannas particularly in West and Central African experience the occurrence of frequent droughts and Striga infestation, resulting in 30–100% yield losses. This production zones need maize cultivars that combine tolerance to the two stresses. IITA in collaboration with national partners has thus employed a sequential selection scheme to incorporate both drought tolerance and Striga resistance in topical maize hybrids using reliable screening protocols. The main objective of the present study was therefore to use grain yield and other agronomic traits recorded in regional collaborative hybrid trials conducted for 8 years under manged stressful and non-stressful conditions and across rainfed field environments to estimate genetic gains in grain yields using mixed model analyses. The results showed significant (p < 0.05) annual yield gains of 11.89 kg ha−1 under manged drought stress (MDS) and 86.60 kg ha−1 under Striga infestation (STRIN) with concomitant yield increases of 62.65 kg ha−1 under full irrigation (WW), 102.44 kg ha−1 under Striga non-infested (STRNO) conditions and 53.11 kg ha−1 across rainfed field environments. Grain yield displayed significant but not strong genetic correlation of 0.41 ± 0.07 between MDS and STRIN, indicating that gene expression was not consistent across the two stress conditions. Furthermore, grain yield recorded in MET had significant moderate genetic correlations of 0.58 ± 0.06 and 0.44 ± 0.07It with MDS and STRIN, respectively. These results emphasize the need to screen inbred linens under both stress conditions to further enhance the rate of genetic gain in grain yield in hybrids for areas where the two stresses co-occur. Nonetheless, this study demonstrated that the sequential selection scheme has been successful in generating hybrids with dependable yields that can reduce chronic food deficits in rural communities experiencing simultaneous presence of drought and S. hermonthica infestation in their production fields.
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Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/8011
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