The number of drought and low-N tolerant hybrids with elevated levels of provitamin A (PVA) in sub-Saharan Africa could increase when PVA genes are optimized and validated for developed drought and low-N tolerant inbred lines.

This study aimed to (a) determine the levels of drought and low-N tolerance, and PVA concentrations in early maturing PVA-quality protein maize (QPM) inbred lines, and (b) identify lines harbouring the crtRB1 and LcyE genes as sources of favourable alleles of PVA. Seventy early maturing PVA-QPM inbreds were evaluated under drought, low-N and optimal environments in Nigeria for two years. The inbreds were assayed for PVA levels and the presence of PVA genes using allele-specific PCR markers. Moderate range of PVA contents was observed for the inbreds. Nonetheless, TZEIORQ 55 combined high PVA concentration with drought and low-N tolerance. The crtRB1-3'TE primer and the KASP SNP (snpZM0015) consistently identified nine inbreds including TZEIORQ 55 harbouring the favourable alleles of the crtRB1 gene. These inbreds could serve as donor parents of the favourable crtRB1-3'TE allele for PVA breeding in maize.





Figure 1:  PCR amplification of selected early maturing provitamin A-quality protein maize inbred lines using crtRB1_3TE_F1/RIC primer resolved on 2% agarose gel. M = 100 bp DNA ladder marker; favourable allele = 595 bp; unfavourable allele = 1,845 bp; lanes 1–70 = inbred lines with entry number as labelled; lanes 71–72 = no template controls (NTCs) [Colour figure can be viewed at]