, Volume 190, Issue 3, pp 425–438 | Cite as

Advanced cycle pedigree breeding in sunflower. I: Genetic variability and testcross hybrid performance for seed yield and other agronomic traits



As a plant breeding programme matures there is a general tendency to recycle elite inbred parents, a strategy known as advanced cycle pedigree breeding. The challenge with this approach is not only to maintain genetic variability in the base breeding populations but also their usefulness for further genetic advancement in developing experimental hybrids with better performance than the commercial hybrids on the market. To assess the genetic variability and usefulness of breeding populations in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), 109 new inbred lines across four breeding populations Pop1, Pop2, Pop3 and Pop4 in advanced cycle pedigree breeding scheme were testcrossed to two testers to form testcross hybrid (TCH) groups: Pop1TC, Pop2TC, Pop3TC and Pop4TC. Moderate to high genetic variability along with high heritability were obtained for seed yield and oil yield within and across all TCH groups. Heritability for oil content was low to high ranging from 0.36 (Pop2TC) to 0.81 (Pop1TC). Genetic advance (GA%) with a 10 % selection intensity ranged from 36 % (Pop2TC) to 42 % (Pop1TC) for seed yield; 38 % (Pop3TC) to 43 % (Pop1TC) for oil yield; and 1.3 % (Pop2TC) to 5.1 % (Pop1TC) for oil content. To quantify the commercial potential of experimental TCHs, founder parent heterosis (FPH), mid-standard heterosis (MSH) and high standard heterosis (HSH) were calculated. Out of a total of 218 experimental TCHs evaluated, 28 had positive FPH, MPH and HSH values for oil yield representing a 13 % selection intensity as is usually applied in early generation testing.


Genetic variability Helianthus annuus Heterosis Testcross hybrids 



The authors are indebted to Dr. Nemera G. Shargie and Mr. S. Mavengahama for helpful suggestions and valuable comments that improved the manuscript. Mr. E. Ndou and Ms. N. Msimango for helping with the planting and collection of data. The Agricultural Research Council, Grain Institute Crops, South Africa for supporting the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARC-Grain Crops InstitutePotchefstroomSouth Africa
  2. 2.Faculty of Science and AgricultureUniversity of KwaZulu NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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