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Synthetic populations of maize containing highland Mexican or highland Peruvian germplasm

, : Synthetic populations of maize containing highland Mexican or highland Peruvian germplasm. Crop science 29(3): 660-665

Highland tropical germplasm of maize (Zea mays L.) is tolerant of low temperatures but agronomically unattractive in temperate regions. To produce populations which could ultimately be agronomically acceptable and have tolerance to low temperatures, the synthetic NZS1 was developed from 'Criollo de Toluca' X AS3(2) and the synthetic NZS2 from 'San Geronimo' X BS22(2). Criollo de Toluca is from the highlands of Mexico, San Geronimo is from the highlands of Peru, and AS3 and BS22 are elite synthetics from the Corn Belt Dent race of the USA. A third synthetic, NZS3, was developed from selected lines from an International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) population developed for highland regions of the tropics and Corn Belt Dent inbred lines. The cytoplasms of NZS1 and NZS2 were from their tropical parents. The five synthetics, NZS1, NZS2, NZS2, AS3 and BS22, were evaluated in a dialle cross, which included reciprocals and the parental synthetics, for grain yield, grain moisture, silking date, and root lodging in New Zealand. The objective of these experiments was to determine the breeding potential of these synthetics in cool, temperate environments. NZS1 and NZS2 silked at the same time as their Corn Belt Dent parents, but NZS1 has higher root lodging and NZS2 had higher grain moisture. NZS1 and NZS2 were lower yielding than their Corn Belt Dent parents, but in some combinations produced yields similar to AS3 X BS22. Therefore, grain yield should not limit the use of NZS1 and NZS2. NZS3 X BS22 was the most desirable cross when all characters were considered, which suggested that NZS3 should be a useful population for short-term gains. The cytoplasm of Criollo de Toluca delayed silking and increased grain moisture, while the cytoplasm of San Geronimo reduced grain moisture, suggesting that cytoplasmic inheritance should be considered when utilizing highland tropical populations.

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