Genetic dissection of grain yield and agronomic traits in maize under optimum and low-nitrogen stressed environments
Understanding the genetic basis of maize grain yield and other traits under low-nitrogen (N) stressed environments could improve selection efficiency. In this study, five doubled haploid (DH) populations were evaluated under optimum and N-stressed conditions, during the main rainy season and off-season in Kenya and Rwanda, from 2014 to 2015. Identifying the genomic regions associated with grain yield (GY), anthesis date (AD), anthesis-silking interval (ASI), plant height (PH), ear height (EH), ear position (EPO), and leaf senescence (SEN) under optimum and N-stressed environments could facilitate the use of marker-assisted selection to develop N-use-efficient maize varieties. DH lines were genotyped with genotyping by sequencing. A total of 13, 43, 13, 25, 30, 21, and 10 QTL were identified for GY, AD ASI, PH, EH, EPO, and SEN, respectively. For GY, PH, EH, and SEN, the highest number of QTL was found under low-N environments. No common QTL between optimum and low-N stressed conditions were identified for GY and ASI. For secondary traits, there were some common QTL for optimum and low-N conditions. Most QTL conferring tolerance to N stress was on a different chromosome position under optimum conditions.