Zea mays L.
Tassel branch number
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Tassel branch numbers of six crosses of maize (Zea mays L.) were analyzed to determine inheritance of this trait. Generation mean analyses were used to estimate genetic effects, and additive and nonadditive components of variance were calculated and evaluated for bias due to linkage. Both narrow-sense and broad-sense heritabilities were estimated. Additive genetic variance estimates were significant in five of the six crosses, whereas estimates of variance due to nonadditive components were significant in only three crosses. Additionally, estimates of additive variance components usually were larger than corresponding nonadditive components. There was no evidence for linkage bias in these estimates. Estimates of additive genetic effects were significant in four of six crosses, but significant dominance, additive × additive and additive × dominance effects also were detected. Additive, dominance, and epistatic gene action, therefore, all influenced the inheritance of tassel branch number, but additive gene action was most important. Both narrow-sense and broadsense heritability estimates were larger than those reported for other physiological traits of maize and corroborated conclusions concerning the importance of additive gene action inferred from analyses of genetic effects and variances. We concluded that selection for smalltasseled inbreds could be accomplished most easily through a mass-selection and/or pedigree-selection system. Production of a small-tasseled hybrid would require crossing of two small-tasseled inbreds. We proposed two genetic models to explain unexpected results obtained for two crosses. One model involved five interacting loci and the other employed two loci displaying only additive and additive × additive gene action.
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