Oluwaranti A., R. Edema, S. A. Ajayi, C. J. Atkinson, G. Asea,
D. Makumbi, D. B. Kwemoi
The development of drought tolerant maize has been limited by the suggested complexity of the environment on drought phenotypic traits. However, some simple sequence repeats (SSRs) molecular markers linked to drought tolerance via quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been identified in maize but their use requires validation on newly developed elite maize inbred lines. This study therefore aims to validate 19 selected SSR markers linked to maize drought tolerance and determine the genetic diversity of sixty-eight elite maize inbred lines. Genomic DNA was extracted with a CTAB method and the PCR products were separated on agarose gel with auto radiograms visually scored for polymorphic bands to establish a data matrix. Assessment of the genetic links among the inbred lines was carried out using cluster analysis. The 68 maize inbred lines were clustered based on a matrix of genetic similarity Jaccard using the UPGMA algorithm. Some of the markers that were informative included P-bnlg238, Phi037, P-bnlg1179 and Umc2214 and these showed significant group differentiation among the inbred lines. Marker Umc1447, Umc1432 and Umc2359 were among the markers with monomorphic bands, while Phi034, Bnlg1074 and P-umc1542 showed no characterized bands. The polymorphism information content (PIC) value of the informative markers ranged from 0.13 (Bnlg434) to 0.76 (P-bnlg238). The cluster analysis classified the maize inbred lines into four groups based on the SSR data. The exploitation of information of genetic diversity among the inbred maize lines to develop drought tolerant hybrids is hereby discussed.