QTL detection in maize testcross progenies as affected by related and unrelated testers

Theor Appl Genet. 2009 Mar;118(5):993-1004. doi: 10.1007/s00122-008-0956-3. Epub 2009 Jan 29.


The evaluation of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) per se can be biased by inbreeding depression in case of allogamous species. To overcome this drawback, RILs can be evaluated in combination with testers; however, testers can carry dominant alleles at the quantitative trait loci (QTL), thus hampering their detection. This study was conducted on the maize (Zea mays L.) population of 142 RILs derived from the single cross B73 x H99 to evaluate the role of different testers in affecting: (1) QTL detection, (2) the estimates of their effects, and (3) the consistency of such estimates across testers. Testcrosses (TCs) were produced by crossing RILs with inbred testers B73 [TC(B)], H99 [TC(H)], and Mo17 [TC(M)]. TCs were field tested in three environments. TC(B) mean was higher than TC(H) mean for all traits, while TC(M) mean was the highest for plant vigor traits and grain yield. As to the number of detected QTL, tester Mo17 was superior to H99 and B73 for traits with prevailing additive effects. Several overlaps among the QTL were detected in two or all the three TC populations with QTL effects being almost always consistent (same sign). For traits with prevailing dominance-overdominance effects, as grain yield, the poor performing tester H99 was clearly the most effective; fewer overlaps were found and some of them were inconsistent (different sign). Epistatic interactions were of minor importance. In conclusion, the three testers proved to affect QTL detection and estimation of their effects, especially for traits showing high dominance levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Crosses, Genetic*
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genotype
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*
  • Zea mays / anatomy & histology
  • Zea mays / genetics*