Combining ability effects and nature of gene action for grain yield and quality parameters in pop corn (Zea mays var. everta)
The proficiency and efficacy of the parental selection programmes in most of the crops including popcorn can be significantly improved by estimating the combining ability and its effects. The present study was planned with an aim to assess the combining ability variances and effects in 28 cross combinations developed by crossing eight inbred lines of popcorn in half diallel fashion design (without reciprocals). The thirty eight genotypes including twenty eight hybrids along with their eight parents and two checks were evaluated in randomized complete block design to estimate the GCA and SCA of parents as well as crosses. Results for combining ability shown that mean sum of squares due to hybrids and parents vs. hybrids were significant, which in turn exhibits significant genotypic differences for all the characters under study except grain protein content. It was also apparent that both general combining ability and specific combining ability variances were significant for all the characters except grain protein content which indicated importance of both additive and non additive gene action in the inheritance of these traits. The inbred lines viz., HKI PC 1473-5, HKI PCBT 3, HKI PC 4B were found as good combiners and desirable for both grain yield and quality traits with high popping expansion. The cross combination HKI PC 1473-5 x HKI PCBT 3, HKI PC 4 x HKI PC 7 and HKI PC 4B x HKI PCBT 3 showed good SCA effects for grain yield, yield related traits and quality traits and thus indicated non additive gene effects is more pronounced and selection may prove reliable in maize hybridization programme for improvement of yield and other characters.
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