A Korean local maize line with multiple ears and tillers (MET) was reported (MNL 56:62) and its potential value in silage production was also reported (Agronomy Abstract 1981, p. 57). However, the genetic nature of the line for the tillering and earing habits was lacking. Therefore we attempted to find some of the genetic nature of the line. We made a cross between the MET and unrelated U.S. hybrid, Mo17 x B68. The F1 and F2 plants showed no apparent difference in the characters concerned, probably due to the masking effects (apical dominance) of heterosis on the initiation of tiller and ear. The reciprocal cross was the same. However, very distinct differences were observed in backcross generations. When the MET line was used as recurrent female parent, the number of tillers and ears increased greatly over the backcross in which the MET was used as male parent. The reciprocal effects of the backcross generation show the apparent cytoplasmic effects of the MET line on tiller and ear numbers. Genetic parameter estimates by Mather and Jinks' generation mean analysis also indicated an absence of mono- or digenic-chromosomal genes, additive and dominance gene effects, or interactions of gene effects. Our unreported data also showed that the characters of the MET line are maintained without any change in number for four generations of selfing of the original open-pollinated MET line. Our results suggest that the high tillers and ears of the MET line are effectively transferred by a backcross program using MET as female recurrent parent.
Bong-ho Choe and Chang-deok Han
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