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Scientia Agricola

On-line version ISSN 1678-992X


MALDONADO, Félix Alonso Astete  and  MIRANDA FILHO, José Branco de. Inbreeding depression in maize populations of reduced size. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2002, vol.59, n.2, pp.335-340. ISSN 1678-992X.

Inbreeding is a well known phenomenon in living beings and its immediate consequence is the decrease in the expression of quantitative traits, known as inbreeding depression. Selfing is the most common system of inbreeding in plant species; however, little has been studied with other less severe inbreeding systems, such that resulting from small population sizes. The present work consisted of the study of the inbreeding effect on quantitative traits as a consequence of reduced population size under panmixy. Three maize (Zea mays L.) populations were used in this study: P1 ¾ ITA, population derived from the variety IAC-Taiúba; P2 ¾ represented by 30 subpopulations already submmited to reduced size (N = 5); and P3 - population derived from the interpopulation cross ESALQ-PB2 x ESALQ-PB3. The subpopulations and the respective parental populations were evaluated in six experiments using completely randomized blocks with four replications in Piracicaba (SP) and Anhembi (SP), Brazil, from 1997 to 1999. Estimates of inbreeding depression and components of means were obtained for the two generations in the three populations for the following traits: plant height, ear height, ear length, ear diameter, and yield traits (total ear weight and total grain weight). In all populations and for all traits and sampling generations, means of subpopulations were always smaller than mean of the base populations, however the inbreeding depression levels were smaller than expected. The highest inbreeding depression was exhibited by the yield traits, while a very small depressive effect was observed for plant height and ear height in the first generation of reduced size in populations P1 and P3. The component A (expected mean of a random sample of completely homozygous lines) was always higher than d (contribution of the heterozygotes to the mean) for all traits and populations.

Keywords : Zea mays; genetic drift; effective size.

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