Evaluation of Elite Open-Pollinated Maize Lines in Two Contrasting Environments

  •  Vasileios Greveniotis    
  •  Elisavet Bouloumpasi    
  •  Ioannis Tsakiris    
  •  Evangelia Sioki    
  •  Constantinos Ipsilandis    


Selection environment affects plant behavior and response to selection. The objective of the present study was the evaluation of 17 quality and quantity phenotypic characteristics of six open-pollinated maize lines of fifth cycle of selection (C4), which was performed by the implementation of honeycomb breeding, in two contrasting environments (A and B). A: Florina, W. Macedonia (40o46' N, 21o22' E, altitude 705 m) and B: Trikala, Thessaly (39o55' N, 21o64' E, altitude 120 m), with about 4-10 oC higher temperatures than environment A. The soil chemical analysis revealed that the two environments were very diverse (A: SL, pH = 6.25, organic matter: 1.29%, B: SCL, pH = 8, organic matter: 2.4%). Our data suggest that moisture content, seed oil content, ear length, ear diameter, number of grain rows, spindle diameter and seed thickness exhibit inter-location high broad-sense heritability (over 0.9). Heritability estimations were highly depended on the environment, since GEI interaction was high indicating environmental interaction with genotype, especially environment B, which seems to favor heritability. Location affects strongly variation and genotype by environment interaction is significant in many cases. Seed width was the only characteristic to be depended on genetic variability. Descriptive statistics revealed a broad range of mean fluctuations, indicating satisfactory variability in many characteristics to be exploited by breeders. Some characteristics showed low CV (Coefficient of Variation) values (1.6 to 5.3), indicating stability of performance and low environmental effects. Significant correlations between the 17 quantity and quality traits found in our study may be a useful tool for indirect selection of certain characteristics, otherwise difficult to be selected due to non-additive effects. Cluster analysis and PCA showed contrasting results in classification of open-pollinated lines and this was attributed to strong environmental effects that distorted phenotypic expression of the characteristics studied.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.