Environmental impact and genetic expressions of new drought tolerant maize genotypes in derived savannah agro-ecology
Keywords:climate change; genetic improvement; heritability; sub-Saharan Africa; water stress; Zea mays L.
Reduced water resources in sub-Saharan Africa will not only pose threat to the livelihood of poor resource farmers, but also food security in the region. Drought tolerant (DT) maize varieties hold promise to reducing poor resourced farmers’ vulnerability and improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Ten maize genotypes obtained from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), were evaluated in 2015 and 2016 using a randomized complete block design experiment with three replications to estimate their genetic variability and predict their genetic advances in the derived savannah agro-ecology. Growth, phenological and yield data were collected from 10 middle row plants. Genetic advance, genotypic, phenotypic and environmental coefficients of variations and their variances were estimated. Principal component and hierarchical cluster analyses were also performed. The dendrogram showed that at 80% dissimilarity point, the genotypes were grouped into clusters A, B and C in both years. The first two principal components explained 91.8% and 93.3% of the total variation in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Number of grains cob-1, plant height and number of days to physiological maturity were consistent in explaining the variations observed in the maize population. Heritability estimates in broad sense ranged from 1.35% for number of leaves to 87.43% for grain yield per hectare. The genetic parameters studied showed significant variations among the growth, phenological and yield data collected that warrants selection and maize improvement program using the DT maize inbred lines in derived savannah agro-ecology.
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