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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 36 No. 1, p. 57-64
    Received: Aug 11, 1994

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A Sampling of the Phenetic Diversity of Cacao in the International Cocoa Gene Bank of Trinidad

  1. Frances Bekele  and
  2. Isaac Bekele
  1. The Cocoa Res. Unit, Univ. of the West Indies, Trinidad
    Dep. of Crop Science, Univ. of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad



The International Cocoa Gene bank, Trinidad, is an international cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) germplasm depository that conserves nearly 2500 accessions in its field collection. A portion of this germplasm was characterized for phenetic diversity with morphological descriptors from the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources cacao descriptor list. Data for 28 quantitative and 26 qualitative descriptors were obtained on 100 accessions representing 24 populations. Associations among the accessions were examined by hierarchical average linkage cluster analysis. Variances of the standardized values were computed for the quantitative descriptors. The diversity and evenness of the qualitative descriptors were assessed with the Shannon-Weaver diversity index (SWDI). The variances and the Shannon-Weaver diversity indices summarized the direct contributions of the quantitative and qualitative descriptors to the similarity measure. The variances of the standardized quantitative descriptors ranged from 0.03 for flower ligule length to 0.07 for fruit husk weight. About 75% of the fruit and bean descriptors had variances greater than 0.045, compared to 17% for the flower descriptors, indicating a relatively higher discriminative value of the former. Normalized SWDI values greater than 0.50 were obtained for 69% of the 26 qualitative descriptors. Eighty percent of the flower descriptors had SWDI values greater than 0.50, compared to 60% for those of the fruit and bean. Cluster analysis indicated rich phenetic diversity in this sample of germplasm. At the 75% level of similarity, the accessions were grouped in 11 clusters, each containing two or more accessions. Nine accessions were ungrouped. This diversity should prove useful for breeding programs. The observed link between geographic origin and accession grouping suggested that it is necessary to collect and conserve germplasm representing a broad geographic range.

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