Tillering Potential, Yield, and Yield Components in Super-Sweet Maize: Gene Action, Combining Ability, and Heterosis Analysis (Zea mays L. var saccharata)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biotechnology and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Seed and Plant Improvement Department, Khorasan Razavi Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, ARREO, Mashhad, Iran


The success of hybrid breeding programs across the world depends on an understanding of the impacts of gene activity, combining ability, and heterosis on desired characteristics. This project's major goals included the identification of better-inbred lines and hybrids based on combining prowess and heterosis effects in genotypes of super-sweet maize (Zea mays L. Saccharate) and the research of genetic factors and gene activity influencing agronomic attributes. In 2021, three inbred lines (as female parents) were crossed with three testers (as male parents) using the line-to-tester mating design. In a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications in 2022, nine F1 hybrids with six parental lines were assessed for thirteen agronomic variables, including tillering potential (TP), conservable grain yield (CGY), and yield components. The findings showed that for all the attributes under study, the genotype-related mean squares and their distributions to parents crosses, and parents' crosses were significant (P 0.05). Numerous agronomic characteristics, including TP, CGY, plant height, and tassel length, were considerably influenced by additive gene action, while others were influenced by non-additive gene action, according to the ratio of 2GCA / 2SCA and narrow-sense heritability (Hns2). For CGY and TP characteristics, the SSBas-1 and SSChall-5 combination showed positive specific combining ability (SCA) benefits. Most hybrids also showed positive heterosis and SCA effects, which explained the heterosis in the hybrid's performance. The best general combiners for the majority of the analyzed traits were the parents SBas-1 among the lines and Chal-3 among the testers, which might be employed in further research to create high-yielding super-sweet corn hybrids.

Graphical Abstract

Tillering Potential, Yield, and Yield Components in Super-Sweet Maize: Gene Action, Combining Ability, and Heterosis Analysis (Zea mays L. var saccharata)


  • The conservable grain yield trait exhibited the highest heterosis of all the characteristics examined.
  • The tillering potential character showed negative heterosis in the majority of the examined combinations.
  • A lower than one value for 𝜎2GCA/𝜎2SCA ratio indicated a preponderance of non-additive gene action in the inheritance of these traits.


Main Subjects

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