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Strong associations between agronomic and physiologic traits and drought tolerance, high heritability and high genetic advance for such traits would allow plant breeder to use such traits as selection criteria for selecting drought tolerant genotypes. The objectives of the present investigation were: (i) to explain the relationships between the drought tolerance index (DTI) and 14 agronomic and physiologic traits of 22 maize genotypes and (ii) to estimate the broad-sense heritability (h2b) and genetic advance (GA) from selection for such traits, in order to determine the selection criteria for DTI. A two-year experiment was carried out using a split plot experiment with three replications. The main plots were devoted to irrigation regimes, i.e. well watering (WW), water stress at flowering (WSF) and at grain filling (WSG), and sub plots to maize genotypes. It is evident from results that the best selection criteria for drought tolerance in our study were: 100-kernel weight (100KW) and chlorophyll concentration index (CCI) under WSF and WSG, anthesis-silking interval (ASI), upper stem diameter (SDU) and lower stem diameter (SDL) under WSF and kernels/row (KPR) and ear leaf area (ELA) under WSG, since they show high correlation (r) values with grain yield/plant (GYPP), high h2b and high GA estimates under the respective environments. Under well watering conditions, KPR, 100KW, CCI, and SDL traits showed high (r) values, high h2b and high GA estimates and therefore could be considered selection criteria for GYPP under non-stressed environment. The results concluded that predicted selection gain would be higher if selection was practiced under WW for lower values of days to silking and higher values of ears/plant, rows/ear, KPR, 100KW, SDU and SDL, under WSF for lower values of ASI and higher values of GYPP and under WSG for lower values of plant height, ear height, and barren stalks, and higher values of CCI and ELA.