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Assessment of Variation in Agro-morphological Traits in M3 and M4 Maize Lines

By: Kariuki JK, Githiri SM , Wesonga JM, TS. Tesfamichael

Key Words: Correlations, Kenya, Mutation breeding, Zea mays, Agronomical traits.

Int. J. Agr. Agri. Res. 9(2), 147-161, August 2016.

Abstract

A total of thirty nine M3 and thirty seven M4 maize lines derived from mutation breeding were evaluated for variation in agro-morphological traits at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Farm, Juja from October 2014 to September 2015 to identify desirable mutants for use in plant breeding programmes. The experimental design was randomized complete block design in triplicates. During growth data on days to anthesis and silking, flag leaf width and length, number of leaves above upper ear, harvestable ears plant-1, diameter of the ear, days to maturity and grain yield plant-1 were recorded. Data were analyzed using Genstat 14th edition and the means separated using LSD at 5% level of significance. Results showed significant variations for grain yield plant-1, herbicide tolerance days, days to anthesis and silking, pollen shedding and flag leaf width among the assessed maize lines. The recorded variations among maize lines suggested that there existed appreciable variation that could be utilized in breeding. Grain yield plant-1 was significant and negatively correlated with tolerance days. Grain yield plant-1 and herbicide tolerance cannot be improved simultaneously and the breeder should decide which trait to improve. Overall, the results indicated that induced mutation could serve as a source of variations for use in the improvement of maize.

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