The estimation of maternal genetic variances by a multivariate maximum likelihood method is discussed. As an illustration the method is applied to data on Tribolium using a model based on partitioning the maternal genetic effect into additive and dominance components. An alternative model due to Falconer (1965) is also fitted. The method is applied to designs suggested for estimating maternal variances by Eisen . Modifications required when parents are selected on their phenotypic values are given.