Understanding the genetic variability, heritability and genetic advance of traits in any plant population is an important pre-requisite for breeding program. The experiment was conducted to assess the magnitude of genetic variability, heritability and genetic advance of 24 maize inbred lines for 16 quantitative traits. The field experiment was conducted during 2016 cropping season at Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC). Alpha lattice (0, 1) design with three replications and nine blocks was used. Analysis of variance showed high significance (P<0.01) differences among genotypes for all traits studied except tassel size. The genotypic coefficient of variation (GCV) for all traits studied was smaller than the phenotypic coefficient of variation (PCV), indicating the significant role of environment in the expression of traits studied. The estimates of PCV and GCV was high for grain yield, thousand kernel weight, ear height, ear diameter, anthesis and silking interval and plant aspect. Heritability estimates ranged from 9.15 for tassel size to 96.02 for thousand kernel weight. Estimates of genetic advance as percent of mean at 5% selection intensity ranged from 2.76% for days to maturity to 50.69% for grain yield. High heritability along with high genetic advance was obtained for plant height, ear length and 1000-kernel weight, indicating the predominance of additive gene effects in controlling the traits and effective selection on the basis of these traits would be absolutely useful for the improvement of inbred lines. Therefore, it could be recommended that due emphasis should be given for these traits for the improvement of maize inbred lines.
Key words: Heritability, genetic variability, genetic advance, inbred lines.
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