Heterotic Classes and Utilization Patterns in Chinese Foxtail Millet [Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv]


Utilization of heterosis to develop hybrid cultivars can significantly increase yield of most crops including foxtail millet. However, previous foxtail millet hybrid cultivars have been largely developed from crosses between sterile lines and conventional varieties or between sterile lines and varieties that are geographically distent from the sterile lines. The research on classification of heterotic classes and determinetaion of heterotic patterns has not been reported, which results in uncertainty in selection of parents for crosses and delays progress in utilization of high yielding hybrids in large-scale commercial production. In this study, a core collection of 128 accessions from China was grouped into six classes using combined analyses of population structure, pedigree, and clustering. The classification was conducted based mainly on molecular clustering of genotypic data, also considered the population structure and mathematical clustering using phenotypic data, and was finally validated through pedigree analysis. According to the transgressive and superstandard heterosis for grain yield, plant height, panicle length, panicle diameter, single panicle weight, grain weight per panicle, and 1000-grain weight collected from an incomplete-diallel-cross experiment, we identified six superior heterosis patterns (C2/C1, C2/C4, C2/C5, C2/C6, C1/C5 and C4/C5) and four inferior heterosis patterns (C1/C3, C1/C4, C1/C6 and C4/C6), and explored their potential applications in millet hybrid breeding. This study laid a foundation for effective use of foxtail millet heterosis in improving millet hybrid yield.

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Liu, Z. , Bai, G. , Zhang, D. , Zhu, C. , Ren, X. and Li, S. (2014) Heterotic Classes and Utilization Patterns in Chinese Foxtail Millet [Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv]. Agricultural Sciences, 5, 1392-1406. doi: 10.4236/as.2014.514150.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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