Genetic Variability for Drought Adaptive Traits in A-511 Maize Population

  • G Gobale
  • JBJ Van Rensburg
  • CS Van Deventer


Drought causes considerable yield reduction in maize (Zea mays L.) grown in the moisture stressed areas of Ethiopia. Increased crop production through improvement is expected if the adapted local genotypes possess variability for drought adaptive traits. Randomly taken 196 S1 lines generated from Population A-511 were tested in 14 x 14 alpha lattice design at two plant densities in well watered and stressed conditions to estimate genetic variability (■G) and heritability for drought tolerant traits. Significant ■G existed among the S1 lines for yield, ears plant-1, anthesis-silking interval, kernels ear-1 and kernels plant-1, which are considered the most important traits for drought tolerance. Broad-sense heritability and ■G for number of ears per plant (EPP) increased with increasing stress, while for yield and most other traits it increased with decreasing stress, reflecting their critical importance in selection under contrasting growing conditions. In general, there was considerable ■G for important traits in Population A-511, which can be exploited for improvement in performance, both under drought and well-watered conditions.

Keywords: Drought Adaptive Traits; Drought Stress; Plant Density

East African Journal of Sciences Vol. 2 (2) 2008: pp. 146-149

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eISSN: 1992-0407