Maysin, a C-glycosylflavone in maize silk, has insecticidal activity against corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), larvae. Sweet corn, Zea mays L., is a vulnerable crop to ear-feeding insects and requires pesticide protection from ear damage. This study was conducted to identify maize chromosome regions associated with silk maysin concentration and eventually to transfer and develop high silk maysin sweet corn lines with marker-assisted selection (MAS). Using an F2 population derived from SC102 (high maysin dent corn) and B31857 (low maysin sh2 sweet corn), we detected two major quantitative trait loci (QTL). It was estimated that 25.6% of the silk maysin variance was associated with segregation in the genomic region of npi286 (flanking to p1) on chromosome 1S. We also demonstrated that a1 on chromosome 3L had major contribution to silk maysin (accounted for 15.7% of the variance). Locus a1 has a recessive gene action for high maysin with the presence of functional p1 allele. Markers umc66a (near c2) and umc105a on chromosome 9S also were detected in this analysis with minor contribution. A multiple-locus model, which included npi286, a1, csu3 (Bin 1.05), umc245 (Bin 7.05), agrr21 (Bin 8.09), umc105a, and the epistatic interactions npi286 × a1, a1 × agrr21, csu3 × umc245, and umc105a × umc245, accounted for 76.3% of the total silk maysin variance. Tester crosses showed that at the a1 locus, SC102 has functional A1 alleles and B31857 has homozygous recessive a1 alleles. Individuals of (SC102 × B31857) × B31857 were examined with MAS and plants with p1 allele from SC102 and homozygous a1 alleles from B31857 had consistent high silk maysin. Marker-assisted selection seems to be a suitable method to transfer silk maysin to sweet corn lines to reduce pesticide application.
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Vol. 94 • No. 2