QTL mapping provides usefull information for breeding programs since it allows the estimation of genomic locations and genetic effects of chromossomal regions related to the expression of quantitative traits. The objective of this study was to map QTL related to several agronomic important traits associated with grain yield: ear weight (EW), prolificacy (PROL), ear number (NE), ear length (EL) and diameter (ED), number of rows on the ear (NRE) and number of kernels per row on the ear (NKPR). Four hundred F-2:3 tropical maize progenies were evaluated in five environments in Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil. The genetic map was previously estimated and had 117 microssatelite loci with average distance of 14 cM. Data was analysed using Composite Interval Mapping for each trait. Thirty six QTL were mapped and related to the expression of EW (2), PROL (3), NE (2), EL (5), ED (5), NRE (10), NKPR (5). Few QTL were mapped since there was high GxE interaction. Traits EW, PROL and EN showed high genetic correlation with grain yield and several QTL mapped to similar genomic regions, which could cause the observed correlation. However, further analysis using apropriate statistical models are required to separate linked versus pleiotropic QTL. Five QTL (named Ew1, Ne1, Ed3, Nre3 and Nre10) had high genetic effects, explaining from 10.8% (Nre3) to 16.9% (Nre10) of the phenotypic variance, and could be considered in further studies
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