Combining ability and heterotic grouping of maize (Zea mays L.) inbred lines for tolerance to low soil nitrogen in Nigeria


  • Aboderin S.O. University of Ilorin, Eepartment of Agronomy, Ilorin, Nigeria.
  • Oyekunle M. Ahmadu Bello University, Institute for Agricultural Research, Zaria PMB 1044, Nigeria.
  • Bankole F.A. University of Ilorin, Eepartment of Agronomy, Ilorin, Nigeria.
  • Olaoye G. University of Ilorin, Eepartment of Agronomy, Ilorin, Nigeria.
  • Saminu Z. Ahmadu Bello University, Institute for Agricultural Research, Zaria PMB 1044, Nigeria.



Additive gene action, cluster analysis, trait improvement, Per se performance, hybrid Maize


Development of low soil – Nitrogen (N) tolerant maize hybrids is vital for the sustainability of maize production in the developing countries. This study investigated the potential of newly developed inbred lines for trait enhancement and population improvement by estimating their general combining ability effects (GCA). Employing a line x tester mating design involving 79 inbred lines and three testers, a total of 237 F1 hybrids were generated and evaluated alongside three checks at four low-N and four optimum-N environments in Nigeria in 2020 and 2021. Significant positive and negative GCA effects were observed across various traits, underscoring the presence of both superior and inferior combiners for these traits. Inbreds SMLW150 and SMLW155 exhibited significant (ρ≤0.01) GCA effects for grain yield, recording 733.18 kg.ha-1 and 776 kg.ha-1 respectively under optimum-N conditions, thus emerging as the best combiners for grain yield and valuable genetic resources for grain yield improvement. Similarly, inbred lines SMLW7, SMLW9, SMLW57, SMLW43, and SMLW146 demonstrated noteworthy GCA effects for stay-green characteristics, positioning them as promising candidates for enhancing low-N tolerance. Inbred lines SMLW146 and SMLW147, along with tester IITA1876, emerged as best combiners for both grain yield and stay-green characteristics, making them attractive choices for parent selection in hybridization programs geared towards producing maize varieties with enhanced yield potential and nitrogen stress tolerance. Lines SMLW4, SMLW43, SMLW44, SMLW34, and SMLW37 were the best general combiner for days to anthesis and silking, making them potential parents for developing extra-early maturing maize varieties. Additionally, the inbred lines were classified into four heterotic groups under low-N and three groups under optimum-N conditions using the GCA effects of Multiple Traits (GCAMT) method. Each group exhibited distinct strengths and weaknesses. Notably, genotypes in Cluster 4 under low-N conditions and Cluster 3 under optimum-N conditions show promise as sources for developing hybrids with improved yield and nitrogen stress tolerance.


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How to Cite

Aboderin, S., Oyekunle, M., Bankole, F., Olaoye, G., & Saminu, Z. (2024). Combining ability and heterotic grouping of maize (Zea mays L.) inbred lines for tolerance to low soil nitrogen in Nigeria. Peruvian Journal of Agronomy, 8(1), 1-18.