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Use of cocoa populations for breeding purposes

Eskes A., Sounigo O.. 2000. In : Eskes Albertus (ed.), Engels Johannes M.M. (ed.), Lass R.A. (ed.). Working procedures for cocoa germplasm evaluation and selection : Proceedings of the CFC/ICCO/IPGRI Project workshop, 1-6 February 1998, Montpellier, France. Rome : IPGRI, p. 38-40. CFC/ICCO/IPGRI Project Workshop, 1998-02-01/1998-02-06, Montpellier (France).

Knowledge on genetic diversity in crop species has direct consequences on efficient utilization and conservation of genetic material. The species Theobroma cacao is, genetically speaking, very diverse. Recent studies with molecular markers have given a better insight into the genetic structure of the cocoa species. The application of a 'population concept' in cocoa is important for the following activities: - Conservation and transfer of germplasm (Efficient maintenance of diversity; easy transfer by seed or pollen; 'core collection' strategy); - Utilization of germplasm (Pre-breeding strategy; hybrid selection (heterosis); population breeding (recurrent selection or reciprocal recurrent selection)). The population approach has been successfully applied in conservation and utilization of many plant species, including perennial crops such as coffee and oil palm. To date, conservation of cocoa has predominantly been as clones belonging to genetic groups (populations) of different geographic origin (of wild or cultivated origins). Breeding of cocoa has used heterosis in crosses between genetically unrelated genotypes. The objective of this paper is to analyze utilization of cocoa populations in the CFC/ICCO/IPGRI project in the light of the currently available knowledge on the genetic composition of T. cacao.

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; amélioration des plantes; méthode d'amélioration génétique; collection de matériel génétique; critère de sélection; marqueur génétique; clone

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