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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Case History in Crop Improvement: Yield Heterosis in Maize

Author
item Stuber, Charles

Submitted to: Molecular Analysis of Complex Traits
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 13, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The manuscript provides a comprehensive summary of about 25 years of the author's research on the development and use of genetic markers for studying complex traits in corn, such as grain yield, and for more efficiently improving such traits for the farmers' production fields. Although, much of the information presented summarizes previously published material, there are some new data presented. However, the new and unique aspect of the manuscript lies in the inclusion of some of the thought processes and experimental results that led to the series of seminal research papers, primarily relating to an understanding of heterosis (hybrid vigor) in corn and to the development and evaluation of new breeding methods for enhancing hybrid performance in corn hybrids. A major conclusion is that the appropriate use of genetic markers should increase the precision and efficiency of plant breeding for all crops, as well as expedite the acquisition of favorable genetic factors from exotic populations or wild species.

Technical Abstract: A novel and unique feature of this paper is that it illustrates some of the thought processes and experimental results that have led to a series of seminal research papers, primarily relating to an understanding of the genetic basis of heterosis in maize and to the development and evaluation of new breeding technologies for improving the heterotic response in maize hybrids. The underlying technological developments are based on the correlations of molecular genetic marker variability with quantitative trait (such as grain yield) variation. This has provided the tools for the identification and mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for numerous complexly inherited plant traits, and for evaluating the types of genetic variation associated with these loci. The positive results presented from marker-facilitated selection and introgression studies should encourage the use of this new technology by commercial breeders for transferring desired genes between breeding lines. In addition, the appropriate use of markers should increase the precision and breeding efficiency of plant breeding, as well as expedite the acquisition of favorable genes from exotic populations or from wild species.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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