Races of teosinte show differential crossability with maize when maize is used as the female parent

In surveying the isozyme variation within teosinte, we attempted to verify the inheritance of each newly encountered variant. For this purpose, many F1 hybrids were made between the various teosintes and maize. Usually, each teosinte plant carrying an isozyme of special interest was crossed with at least four maize plants representing at least two distinct genotypes. The female parents represented a wide range of commercial and exotic derivatives, including inbreds, single-crosses, and complex pedigrees of isozyme tester stocks. Few or no records were kept for crosses which totally failed, although there were many of these for diploperennis and even more for perennis, relative to the other teosintes. However, as the data in Table 1 suggest, there were substantial differences in seed-set among the successful crosses, both between and within races. Races Central Plateau and Balsas crossed most readily, while Guatemala, Huehuetenango, and Z. diploperennis resulted in much lower seed-set. Very limited data for Chalco also suggested a reduced crossing percentage.

The concepts that there are restrictions in crossing between teosinte and maize and that the various teosintes do differ in their ease of crossing are not new, but these are the most extensive experimental data on kernel set in maize-teosinte hybrids currently available.

Table 1.

M. M. Goodman, J. S. C. Smith, J. F. Doebley and C. W. Stuber

Please Note: Notes submitted to the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter may be cited only with consent of the authors.

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