Molecular markers for cold tolerance and early vigour in maize (Zea mays L.).

Communications in agricultural and applied biological sciences

PubMedID: 24757772

Engelen S, Reheul D, Gheysen G. Molecular markers for cold tolerance and early vigour in maize (Zea mays L.). Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci. 2014;68(2 Pt B):367-74.
Planting maize earlier than the current guidelines recommend, would give great contributions to ecological and sustainable agriculture. In order to plant maize earlier, maize varieties with good cold tolerance and strong early vigour are required. Therefore cold tolerance and early vigour should be important goals in modern maize breeding programmes. Both traits however have a complex, quantitative genetic background and are therefore not easily introduced into modern maize varieties. Marker assisted selection (MAS) can improve the efficiency of breeding activities. In this research project we aim to identify the molecular markers for cold tolerance and early vigour in one of our breeding populations through a QTL analysis. So far nine QTLs for cold tolerance and six QTLs for early vigour could be identified and there is even one QTL in common for the two traits under investigation. The analysis of more populations should reveal whether or not these QTLs might be useful in maize breeding programmes over the world.