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Combining ability and heterosis in plant improvement

Begna Temesgen
Published: 23 December 2021

Abstract: Information on combining ability and heterosis of parents and crossings is crucial in breeding efforts. Genetic variety is crucial to the effectiveness of yield improvement efforts because it helps to broaden gene pools in any given crop population. The genotype's ability to pass the intended character to the offspring is referred to as combining ability. As a result, information on combining ability is required to determine the crossing pairs in the production of hybrid varieties. Heterosis is the expression of an F1 hybrid's dominance over its parents in a given feature, as measured not by the trait's absolute value, but by its practical use. To put it another way, heterosis is defined as an increase in the character value of F1 hybrids when compared to the average value of both parents. A plant breeder's ultimate goal is to achieve desirable heterosis (hybrid vigor). In a variety of crop species, heterosis has been widely employed to boost output and extend the adaptability of hybrid types. A crucial requirement for discovering crosses with significant levels of exploitable heterosis is knowledge of the quantity of heterosis in different cross combinations. Any crop improvement program's success is contingent on the presence of a significant level of genetic diversity and heritability. The lack of a broad genetic foundation is the most significant constraint to crop improvement and a major bottleneck in breeding operations. Heterosis is a critical factor in hybrid generation, particularly for traits driven by non-additive gene activity. To get the most out of heterosis for hybrid cultivar production, germplasm must be divided into distinct heterotic groups. Similarly, knowledge on genetic diversity is critical for hybrid breeding and population improvement initiatives because it allows them to analyze genetic diversity, characterize germplasm, and categorize it into different heterotic groupings. In general, general combining ability is used to detect a line's average performance in a hybrid combination, whereas specific combining ability is used to find circumstances where definite combinations perform better or worse than expected based on the mean performance of the lines involved.
Keywords: heterosis / diversity / breeding / hybrid / traits / crucial / adaptability / crop / combining / parents

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