The combining ability of popcorn S7 lines for Puccinia polysora resistance purposes

ABSTRACT The present study resulted from the lack of information on the genotypic expression ruling the resistance to rust and on the main traits of economic importance to the herein addressed crop. The combining ability of 16 popcorn lines and hybrids was assessed in partial diallel cross in two representative locations in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, where forty simple hybrids were obtained. The experiments followed a completely randomized block design with four repetitions and were conducted under natural infestation conditions in order to test the southern rust severity in the entire plant (SSW) and in the leaf of the first ear (SFPE), as well as the morpho-agronomic traits of greater interest: grain yield (GY) and popping expansion (PE). Additive gene effects prevailed in PE and the non-additive ones stood out in GY; however, both gene effects were important to the southern rust resistance characteristics (SSW and SFPE). Hybrids L65 × P10 and P7 × L70 presented appropriate specific combining ability (SCA) values in all traits; therefore, they were promising for the selection of superior genotypes. Lines L80, L76 and L77 expressed negative general combining ability (GCA) values in SSW and SFPE; line P10 recorded high and positiveGCA values in GY and PE.