generation means was used to study the mode of inheritance of resistance to anthracnose stalk rot in tropical maize. each population was comprised of six generations in two trials under a randomized block design. inoculations were performed using a suspension of 105 conidia ml-1 applied into the stalk. internal lesion length was directly measured by opening the stalk thirty days after inoculation. results indicated contrasting modes of inheritance. in one population, dominant gene effects predominated. besides, additive x dominant and additive x additive interactions were also found. intermediate values of heritability indicated a complex resistance inheritance probably conditioned by several genes of small effects. an additive-dominant genetic model sufficed to explain the variation in the second population, where additive gene effects predominated. few genes of major effects control disease resistance in this cross. heterosis widely differed between populations, which can be attributed to the genetic background of the parental resistant lines.