Although much appreciated in Brazil, commercial popcorn is currently cropped on a fairly small scale. A number of problems need to be solved to increase production, notably the obtaintion of seeds with good agronomic traits and good culinary characteristics. With the objective of developing superior genotypes in popcorn, a second cycle of intrapopulation recurrent selection based on inbred S1 families was carried out. From the first cycle of selection over the UNB-2U population, 222 S1 families were obtained, which were then divided into six sets and evaluated in a randomized complete block design with two replications within the sets. Experiments were carried out in two Brazilian localities. The analysis of variance revealed environmental effects for all evaluated traits, except popping and stand, showing that, for most traits, these environments affected genotype behavior in different ways. In addition, the set as source of variation was significant for most of the evaluated traits, indicating that dividing the families into sets was an efficient strategy. Genotype-by-environment interaction was detected for most traits, except popping expansion and stand. Differences among genotypes were also detected (1% F-test), making viable the proposition of using the genetic variability in the popcorn population as a basis for future recurrent selection cycles. Superior families were selected using the Smith and Hazel classic index, with predicted genetic gains of 17.8% for popping expansion and 26.95% for yield.
breeding program; S1 families; yield; popping expansion