Maize (Zea mays L.) is the most important staple cereal cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa but its productivity is considerable low due to several factors. Development and deployment of maize hybrids have been reported as one of the crucial options in achieving sustainable maize production in sub-Saharan Africa. Information on the heterotic response among available genetic materials in a breeding program is valuable before commencement of any hybrid development program. Unlike the temperate germplasm, maize tropical germplasm is characterized with wide genetic base and genetic complexities and thus, proper organization of the pools, populations, varieties and inbreds that can serve as parental materials for hybrid development through identification of a distinct heterotic groups and patterns among tropical germplasm becomes very essential. This paper reviewed past research efforts at characterizing heterotic response among tropical maize genetic materials with a view to point out merits and demerits in the methods used and future direction towards achieving sustainable hybrid cultivation and enhancing food security in the sub-region.
Part of the book: Cereal Grains