Inheritance of stearic acid composition of maize oil

A limited survey of the fatty acid composition of the germ oil of Plant Introduction germplasm revealed a higher than average stearic acid composition in PI 175334 (Nepal cultivar 'Tusa Rani'). The original PI seed source had kernels with germ oil ranging from 1.5 to 6.3% stearic acid composition (J. Agric. Food Chem. 18:365-370, 1970). Selfing with an ear-to-row breeding procedure resulted in a number of lines with a much higher level of stearic acid than the original seed. After several generations of selfing, a number of lines with stearic acid levels of 9 to 16% of total oil were crossed with inbreds averaging 1 to 3% stearic acid composition of oil. Data from three of these crosses which had the F1 and F2 generation seed along with the backcross to each parental line were recently reported (J. Hered. 74:383-384, 1983). The results showed that a major single gene recessive for high stearic acid was responsible for controlling stearic acid composition of the germ oil in these crosses. However, the distribution pattern of kernels for the germ oil with high stearic acid in the F2 and BC2 generations was relatively broad and indicated the effects of modifying genes. A number of other crosses in which only the F1 and F2 generation seed was available for analyses also indicated the existence of a single gene with dominance for low stearic acid composition of oil.

M. D. Jellum and N. W. Widstrom


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