Influence of soil moisture and air temperature on the stability of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) in maize (Zea mays L.)
Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) is a maternally inherited trait that suppresses the production of viable pollen. CMS is a useful biological tool for confinement strategies to facilitate coexistence of genetically modified (GM) and non-GM crops in case where it is required. The trait is reversible and can be restored to fertility in the presence of nuclear restorer genes (Rf genes) and by environmental impacts. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the level of irrigation on the stability of CMS maize hybrids under defined greenhouse conditions. Additionally the combination of irrigation and air temperature was studied. Three CMS maize hybrids were grown with different levels of irrigation and in different temperature regimes. Tassel characteristics, pollen production and fertility were assessed. The CMS stability was high in hot air temperatures and decreased in lower temperatures. The level of irrigation had no major effect on the level of sterility. The extent of these phenomena was depending on the genotype of CMS maize and should be known before using CMS for coexistence purposes.