A Journey of Hybrids in Maize: An Overview

Rajesh Singh, Lekha Ram, R.P. Srivastava


The increased size and vigor of hybrids between plant varieties and species had been known for centuries. The
transition from open-pollinated to hybrid maize was astonishingly rapid. The greater uniformity of hybrids was
useful for mechanized harvesting, and this was undoubtedly a factor for rapid transition. The hybrids could also
incorporate favorable qualitative traits and be adapted to different habitats, especially length of growing season.
The hybrids in maize were introduced through two-way crosses and four-way crosses. The next major change came
with the increasing practicality of single cross hybrids. Eventually, in the 1960s, single crosses began replacing
double crosses. Not only were the single crosses higher yielding than double crosses, but they were even more
uniform. With the coming of single crosses, not only did the yield show a sudden increase, but the rate of increase
improved. After single-crosses predominated, the annual increase was almost 2 quintals per acre. This was American
scenario, whereas in India the maize hybrids were introduced as early as 1940’ with development and release of
first Indian hybrids, i.e., VL Makka hybrid 42 from VPKAS, Almora. All the inbred included the American materials.
It took almost three and half decades in India to have its first single cross hybrid. This was due to the fact that we
always has shortage of inbreds in early maturity group

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