Selection for Early Flowering Results in Simultaneous Selection for Reduced Nuclear DNA Content in Maize

Authors

  • A. Lane. Rayburn,

    1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agronomy, 320 Plant and Animal Biotechnology Laboratory, 1201 W. Gregory
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  • J. W. Dudley,

    1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agronomy, W 203 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801—4798, USA.
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  • D. P. Biradar

    1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agronomy, 320 Plant and Animal Biotechnology Laboratory, 1201 W. Gregory
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  • With one figure and one table

  • Communicated by C. O. Qualset

Abstract

Several studies have indicated a possible link between genome size and earliness in maize. In this study, an original maize population, South African photo-period insensitive maize composite II (C0) and several selected generations were analyzed for days to flowering, plant height, ear height, and yield. The selection criterion was earliness. Over six cycles of selection a 14-day decrease in days to flowering was obtained with no significant reduction in grain yield. In the initial population (C0) and the most advanced selection (C6) 101 plants were analyzed for nuclear DNA content. A significant decrease in the mean nuclear DNA content of the C0 population (102 AU) was observed with respect to the C0 population (105 AU). This reduction was the result of a decrease in frequency of plants in the C6 population with large genome sizes. Therefore it was concluded that selection for earliness resulted in selection against plants with large genome sizes. Hence, the nucleotype of a maize plant can be modified by selection such as early flowering time.

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