Molecular Breeding

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 41–51 | Cite as

Epistatic interaction is an important genetic basis of grain yield and its components in maize

  • X. Q. Ma
  • J. H. Tang
  • W. T. Teng
  • J. B. Yan
  • Y. J. Meng
  • J. S. Li


A population of 294 recombinant inbred lines (RIL) derived from Yuyu22, an elite maize hybrid extending broadly in China, has been constructed to investigate the genetic basis of grain yield, and associated yield components in maize. The main-effect quantitative trait loci (QTL), digenic epistatic interactions, and their interactions with the environment for grain yield and its three components were identified by using the mixed linear model approach. Thirty-two main-effect QTL and forty-four pairs of digenic epistatic interactions were detected for the four measured traits in four environments. Our results suggest that both additive effects and epistasis (additive × additive) effects are important genetic bases of grain yield and its components in the RIL population. Only 30.4% of main-effect QTL for ear length were involved in epistatic interactions. This implies that many loci in epistatic interactions may not have significant effects for traits alone but may affect trait expression by epistatic interaction with the other loci.


Quantitative trait loci Main effect Epitasis Maize (Zea mays L.) 



Quantitative trait loci


QTL-by-environment interactions


Recombinant inbred line


Additive interaction


Additive × additive by environment



This work was supported by the State Key Basic Research and Development Plan of China and High Technology Project of China.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. Q. Ma
    • 1
  • J. H. Tang
    • 1
  • W. T. Teng
    • 1
  • J. B. Yan
    • 1
  • Y. J. Meng
    • 1
  • J. S. Li
    • 1
  1. 1.National Maize Improvement Center of ChinaChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina

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