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Constitution of Composite Cross Maize (Zea mays L.) Populations Selected for the Semi-Arid Environment of South Madagascar

DAGRI-Department of Agricultural, Environmental, Food and Forestry Sciences and Technologies -Piazzale delle Cascine 18, 50144 Florence, Italy
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Agronomy 2020, 10(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10010054
Received: 2 December 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 27 December 2019 / Published: 31 December 2019
In many African countries, such as Madagascar, a large part of the population is currently estimated to be undernourished, and self-subsistence agriculture represents the primary source of food available for the family. Smallholder farmers cultivate crops with limited agricultural input and use old landraces or obsolete hybrid varieties, with a total country-wide production that is far from being able to sustain the national food demand. In this study, we have developed two maize composite cross populations (CCPs) of different kernel colors, through a selection process among 30 half-sib lines, chosen both for their agronomic performance and their environmental adaptability to a Malagasy farm context. The best half-sib lines, identified through field tests, were clustered as a parental group for open-pollinated crosses. The new CCP created, after two years of seed multiplication in an open field, showed promising yields compared with the hybrids, parental varieties, and local landraces, with average values of 2.7 t/ha for the white CCP and 3.5 t/ha for the yellow one. The seeds produced were then distributed among 15 local farmers to begin a participatory breeding program. Our approach represents an innovative step to improve and stabilize maize yields, employing populations adapted to the cultivation environment and able to cope with different stresses, thereby helping farmers’ life conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: maize; inbred lines; composite cross population; half-sib lines; Madagascar maize; inbred lines; composite cross population; half-sib lines; Madagascar
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Masoni, A.; Calamai, A.; Marini, L.; Benedettelli, S.; Palchetti, E. Constitution of Composite Cross Maize (Zea mays L.) Populations Selected for the Semi-Arid Environment of South Madagascar. Agronomy 2020, 10, 54.

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