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Identification of QTL with large phenotypic effects conserved across genetic backgrounds and environments is one of the prerequisites for crop improvement using marker assisted selection (MAS).The objectives of this study were to identify meta-QTL (m QTL) for grain yield (GY) and anthesis silking interval (ASI) across 18 bi-parental maize populations evaluated in the same conditions across 2-4 managed water stressed and 3-4 well watered environments.
Several factors, including high frequency of drought stress, scarcity and high cost of irrigation, and farmers’ inability to obtain quality seeds and fertilizers, contribute to such low productivity in the region.
Given the unpredictable nature of drought and climate variability over years, breeders must develop improved maize hybrids that are able to withstand drought stress without significant yield penalty under optimal rainfall conditions [3–5].
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Stress caused by early weed competition is known to delay the rate of maize development which may result in a decrease in kernel number.At least the 4 m QTL (m QTL2.2, m QTL6.1, m QTL7.5 and m QTL9.2) associated with GY under both water-stressed and well-watered environments and detected up to 6 populations may be considered for fine mapping and validation to confirm effects in different genetic backgrounds and pyramid them into new drought resistant breeding lines.This is the first extensive report on meta-analysis of data from over 3100 individuals genotyped using the same SNP platform and evaluated in the same conditions across a wide range of managed water-stressed and well-watered environments. mays L.) is an important source of food and nutritional security for millions of people in the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Latin America .Hence, physiologists and breeders have devoted significant efforts in identifying relevant secondary traits correlated to grain yield for indirect selection.These include anthesis silking interval (ASI) between male and female flowering and several other morpho-physiological traits [8, 9].This study confirmed that delaying weed control can influence the length of ASI, which is an important drought tolerant trait. The lengthening of ASI by early weed competition resulted in a rate of yield loss of 0.13 T ha Andrew Reid, Victor Gonzalez, Peter H. The meta-analyses identified 68 m QTL (9 QTL specific to ASI, 15 specific to GY, and 44 for both GY and ASI).Mean phenotypic variance explained by each m QTL varied from 1.2 to 13.1% and the overall average was 6.5%.Each physical interval of the m QTL consisted of 5 to 926 candidate genes.Meta-analyses reduced the number of QTL by 68% and narrowed the confidence intervals up to 12-fold.