• Thursday, February 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Researchers discover drought tolerant maize genotypes

businessday-icon

Researchers have identified maize parental lines and hybrids with high levels of drought tolerance among the early and the extra-early maturing maize genotypes developed and conserved by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State.

This successful identification has led to the availability and the possibility of sustainable development oaf more resilient maize varieties, with dual characteristics of escaping and tolerating drought in the near future.

The discovery of high level of drought tolerance among early maturing maize parental lines is also seen as ‘good news’ for farmers, especially in drought-prone areas of Africa where maize is a key staple.

Delivering a presentation on the topic, “Genetic Analysis and Molecular Characterisation of Early Maturing Maize Inbred Lines for Drought Tolerance,” as part of the IITA Western Africa monthly seminar series, Muhyideen Oyekunle said 48 percent of the early maturing lines under study from IITA were drought tolerant with tolerance indices ranging from 0.17 (low) to 15.31 (high).

The study, which was supervised by B. Badu-Apraku, IITA maize breeder, S. Hearne, CIMMYT geneticist, and M. E. Aken’Ova of the University of Ibadan, involved screening of over 150 early maturing maize inbred lines and hybrids for drought tolerance over a period of two years across six agro-ecological zones of Nigeria.

Other activities undertaken by researchers to spot the promising parental lines included: Assessment of early maturing drought tolerant hybrids under drought stress, molecular characterisation of early maturing maize inbred lines, and genetic analysis of early maturing maize inbred lines for drought tolerance genes.