PLoS ONE (Jan 2019)

Discerning combining ability loci for divergent environments using chromosome segment substitution lines (CSSLs) in pearl millet.

  • Ramana Kumari Basava,
  • Charles Thomas Hash,
  • Mahesh D Mahendrakar,
  • Kavi Kishor P B,
  • C Tara Satyavathi,
  • Sushil Kumar,
  • R B Singh,
  • Rattan S Yadav,
  • Rajeev Gupta,
  • Rakesh K Srivastava

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 8
p. e0218916


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Pearl millet is an important crop for arid and semi-arid regions of the world. Genomic regions associated with combining ability for yield-related traits under irrigated and drought conditions are useful in heterosis breeding programs. Chromosome segment substitution lines (CSSLs) are excellent genetic resources for precise QTL mapping and identifying naturally occurring favorable alleles. In the present study, testcross hybrid populations of 85 CSSLs were evaluated for 15 grain and stover yield-related traits for summer and wet seasons under irrigated control (CN) and moisture stress (MS) conditions. General combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) effects of all these traits were estimated and significant marker loci linked to GCA and SCA of the traits were identified. Heritability of the traits ranged from 53-94% in CN and 63-94% in MS. A total of 40 significant GCA loci and 36 significant SCA loci were identified for 14 different traits. Five QTLs (flowering time, panicle number and panicle yield linked to Xpsmp716 on LG4, flowering time and grain number per panicle with Xpsmp2076 on LG4) simultaneously controlled both GCA and SCA, demonstrating their unique genetic basis and usefulness for hybrid breeding programs. This study for the first time demonstrated the potential of a set of CSSLs for trait mapping in pearl millet. The novel combining ability loci linked with GCA and SCA values of the traits identified in this study may be useful in pearl millet hybrid and population improvement programs using marker-assisted selection (MAS).