The improvement of plants, in the last 40 years, has pledged efforts in the search of maize genotypes with aluminum tolerance. The understanding of the existing variability and the genetic distance between genotypes serves as basis for crossings in breeding programs. The objective of this work was to study aluminum tolerance in maize based on multivariate analysis and genetic parameters in early generations. There were 74 families F3:2 originated from two contrasting crosses for aluminum tolerance. The estimation of genetic parameters based on the components of variance, indicated the influence of the environment for all measured traits, which imposes difficulties for selection in acid soils. The analysis of the dendogram on the basis of the genetic distances disclosed the existence of two main groups. Crossings between inbreds with superior performance and families from different groups are potential source for maize populations to increase aluminum tolerance.
breeding; Mahalanobis distance; Zea mays L