Genotypic variation for maize weevil resistance in eastern and southern Africa maize inbred lines
The maize weevil (Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky) is the most destructive storage insect pest of maize (Zea mays L.) worldwide, especially among susceptible varieties. Breeding for grain resistance against the weevil is a major component of an integrated pest management strategy in maize production. The objective of this study was to identify diverse sources of weevil resistance for introgression in breeding programmes. A total of 180 inbred lines from three geographical areas were screened for maize weevil resistance. Screening was executed by infesting 50 g of maize grain with 32 newly emerged adult weevils, placed in 250 cm3 glass jars in a “no-choice” laboratory test. The grain susceptibility parameters used were F1 weevil progeny emergence, percent grain damage, median development period, Dobie’s index of susceptibility, and parental weevil mortality. New sources of weevil resistance for maize breeding were identified. Eight inbred lines were consistently resistant and, therefore, selected as potential donors for weevil resistance in the maize improvement programmes. There was significant genetic variation, and high levels of heritability (89 – 96%) for weevil resistance that suggested high potential for germplasm improvement through selection. No significant association was observed between maize weevil resistance and grain yield, suggesting that breeding for maize weevil resistance can be achieved without compromising grain yield.
Keywords: Sitophilus zeamais, weevil resistance, Zea mays
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