I. Maize Hybrid Types
Numerous types of both conventional (based only on inbred lines) andnon-conventional (where at least one parent is not an inbred line) maizehybrids may be produced (Vasal, 1988). Conventional hybrid typesinclude single crosses, three way crosses and double crosses (Figure 1 –see Annex). Single cross hybrids are based on two parental inbred lineswhereas three way crosses first require the production of a single crosshybrid followed by its use as a female parent crossed to a male inbredline. Double cross hybrids are the product of crossing two distinct singlecrosses. Single crosses are popular in the developed world because of their high yield performance and uniformity. However, they are expensiveand difficult to produce as the female parent on which the hybrid seed isproduced is typically a relatively low yielding inbred line. Three way anddouble cross hybrids overcome this difficulty as the female parent in theseconventional hybrid types is a single-cross hybrid. Disadvantages of double cross hybrids is that they need seven separate production fieldsincluding four blocks to maintain and produce the inbred lines, two fieldsto produce the two single-cross hybrids, and finally a production field toform the double cross hybrid (Figure 1 – see Annex). At present, threeway cross hybrids are the most common maize hybrids types grown inmuch of the developing world.Non-conventional hybrids can be classified into four major categoriesincluding varietal hybrids, family hybrids, topcross hybrids, and doubletopcross hybrids (Vasal and Gonzalez, 1999a). Most non-conventionalhybrids are based on two components. This is true with varietal hybridswhich are based on a cross between two varieties, synthetics, and/orpopulations. Family hybrids consist of two either full-sib or half-sibfamilies coming from the same or different populations. Topcross hybridsmay include crosses between an inbred line and a variety, synthetic,population, or family. Double topcross hybrids involve a single cross incombination with a variety, synthetic, population or family. The fact thatnone or only one component in non-conventional hybrids is an inbred linehelps overcome some of the difficulties associated with producingconventional hybrids. However, non-conventional hybrids typically areless uniform and lower yielding than their conventional hybridcounterparts.
II.Selection, Maintenance and Production of Parent SeedStocks
Selection, maintenance and production of OPV, synthetic, population, orfamily parental seed will be addressed in a separate paper. Managementof inbred parental seed stocks will be discussed here.