Heterosis Is Prevalent for Multiple Traits in Diverse Maize Germplasm

Sherry A. Flint-Garcia, Edward S. Buckler, Peter Tiffin, Elhan Ersoz, Nathan M. Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Background:Heterosis describes the superior phenotypes observed in hybrids relative to their inbred parents. Maize is a model system for studying heterosis due to the high levels of yield heterosis and commercial use of hybrids.Methods:The inbred lines from an association mapping panel were crossed to a common inbred line, B73, to generate nearly 300 hybrid genotypes. Heterosis was evaluated for seventeen phenotypic traits in multiple environments. The majority of hybrids exhibit better-parent heterosis in most of the hybrids measured. Correlations between the levels of heterosis for different traits were generally weak, suggesting that the genetic basis of heterosis is trait-dependent.Conclusions:The ability to predict heterosis levels using inbred phenotype or genetic distance between the parents varied for the different traits. For some traits it is possible to explain a significant proportion of the heterosis variation using linear modeling while other traits are more difficult to predict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0007433
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2009


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