The use of SSRs for predicting the hybrid yield and yield heterosis in 15 key inbred lines of Chinese maize

Su-Xia Xu, Jie Liu, Gong-She Liu
Hereditas 2004, 141 (3): 207-15
A challenge to maize breeders is to predict and identify inbred lines that can produce highly heterotic hybrids precisely. In the present study we surveyed the genetic diversity among 15 elite inbred lines of maize in China with SSR markers and assessed the relationship between SSR marker and hybrid yield/yield heterosis in a diallel set of 105 crosses. Forty-three SSR primers selected from all sixty-three primers gave stable profiles amplified in the sample of 15 inbred lines, which could clearly resolve on 4% metaphor agarose gel. The average number of alleles per SSR locus was 4.44 with a range from 2 to 9. The polymorphism information content (PIC) for the SSR loci varied from 0.28 to 0.81 with a mean of 0.6281. Genetic similarity (GS) among 15 lines was estimated with 191 alleles identified as raw data, the Nei's coefficient of GS ranged from 0.492 for 478 vs HZ4 up to 0.745 for E28 to ZH64 with a mean of 0.619. The cluster diagram based upon the SSR data grouped the 15 lines into families consistent with the yield heterotic response of these. Genetic distance (GD) based on SSR data was significantly correlated with hybrid yield/yield heterosis, the correlation coefficient (r) being 0.5432 and 0.4271 in 1999 and 0.4305 and 0.3614 in 1998 field test, respectively, whereas the determination coefficient (r2) was lower. The correlation between GD based on SSR data and hybrid yield/yield heterosis changed alone with the difference of number and pedigree relationship among parents that were used in this study. SSR makers showed high polymorphism and could be used to assess the relationship between inbred lines of maize, but it was difficult to predict the yield heterosis of maize.

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