Malnutrition has emerged as one of the major health problems worldwide. Traditional yellow maize has low provitamin-A (proA) content and its genetic base in proA biofortification breeding program of subtropics is extremely narrow. To diversify the proA rich germplasm, 10 elite low proA inbreds were crossed with a proA rich donor (HP702-22) having mutant crtRB1 gene. The F.sub.2 populations derived from these crosses were genotyped using InDel marker specific to crtRB1. Severe marker segregation distortion was observed. Seventeen crtRB1 inbreds developed through marker-assisted pedigree breeding and seven inbreds generated using marker-assisted backcross breeding were characterized using 77 SSRs. Wide variation in gene diversity (0.08 to 0.79) and dissimilarity coefficient (0.28 to 0.84) was observed. The inbreds were grouped into three major clusters depicting the existing genetic diversity. The crtRB1-based inbreds possessed high [beta]-carotene (BC: 8.72[mu]g/g), [beta]-cryptoxanthin (BCX: 4.58[mu]g/g) and proA (11.01[mu]g/g), while it was 2.35[mu]g/g, 1.24[mu]g/g and 2.97[mu]g/g in checks, respectively. Based on their genetic relationships, 15 newly developed crtRB1-based inbreds were crossed with five testers (having crtRB1 gene) using line x tester mating design. 75 experimental hybrids with crtRB1 gene were evaluated over three locations. These experimental hybrids possessed higher BC (8.02[mu]g/g), BCX (4.69[mu]g/g), proA (10.37[mu]g/g) compared to traditional hybrids used as check (BC: 2.36 [mu]g/g, BCX: 1.53[mu]g/g, proA: 3.13[mu]g/g). Environment and genotypes x environment interaction had minor effects on proA content. Both additive and dominance gene action were significant for proA. The mean proportion of proA to total carotenoids (TC) was 44% among crtRB1-based hybrids, while 11% in traditional hybrids. BC was found to be positively correlated with BCX (r = 0.68) and proA (r = 0.98). However, no correlation was observed between proA and grain yield. Several hybrids with 10.0 t/ha grain yield with proA content 10.0 [mu]g/g were identified. This is the first comprehensive study on development of diverse proA rich maize hybrids through marker-assisted pedigree breeding approach. The findings provides sustainable and cost-effective solution to alleviate vitamin-A deficiency.