Experimentally induced introgression and selection during domestication and maize (Zea mays L.) improvement involved selection of specific alleles at genes controlling morphological and agronomic traits, resulting in reduced genetic diversity relative to unselected genes. The plant breeder would have to extend crosses to the wild relatives to introduce novel alleles and diversify the genetic base of elite breeding materials. The use of maize wild relatives (Teosintes and Tripsacum) genes to improve maize performance is well established with important examples dating back more than 60 years. In fact, Teosintes and Tripsacum are known to possess genes conferring tolerance to several biotic and abiotic stress including chlorotic dwarf virus, downy mildew, Fusarium, Striga hermonthica, rootworms, drought and flooding. This review provides an overview of the application of these wild relatives and demonstrates their roles on the development of stress tolerant maize plants. It also highlights the use of Teosintes and Tripsacum to improve selected quantitative traits such as yield.
Key words: Maize (Zea mays L.), Teosintes, Tripsacum, stress tolerance, maize improvement.
Copyright © 2018 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0