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In order to find the best drought tolerant inbred lines, experiment was performed at the Agricultural College of Islamic Azad University, Shoushtar Branch, Iran during 2010. Experiment treatments were compared in a split-plot design by a randomized complete block design with 3 replications. Main factors included non-stress, drought stress in 6 to 7 leaves (vegetative) stage, drought stress in pollination stage and drought stress in grain filling stage. Sub factors were 7 inbred lines. Five stress tolerance indices, including mean productivity (MP), stress tolerance (TOL), stress susceptibility (SSI), stress tolerance index (STI) and geometric mean productivity (GMP) were used in this study. Drought stress in grain filling stage had the minimum grain yield that showed severe effects of drought stress at this stage of growth. Data analysis revealed that the MP, GMP and STI indices were the more accurate criteria for selection of drought tolerant and high yielding inbred lines. The positive and significant correlation of STI and grain yield under all conditions revealed that this index is more applicable and efficient for selection of parental inbred lines in producing hybrids tolerant to drought in vegetative, pollination and grain filling stages and high yielding under non-stress and stress conditions. Based on the STI, GMP and MP indices, K166B proved to be the most drought tolerant line. Biplot analysis allowed us to distinguish groups of tolerant and sensitive inbred lines. Based on the results of this study, the inbred line K166B can be recommended in future breeding programs for production of drought tolerant hybrids.
Key words: Biplot, drought stress, maize, tolerance indices.