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Microsatellite variation and population structure in the "Refractario" cacao of Ecuador

Zhang D., Boccara M., Motilal L.A., Butler D.R., Umaharan P., Mischke S., Meinhardt L.W.. 2008. Conservation Genetics, 9 (2) : p. 327-337.

DOI: 10.1007/s10592-007-9345-8

Utilization of germplasm for crop improvement is often hampered by absence of information regarding origin, genetic identity and genealogical relationships of germplasm groups or populations. Molecular marker technology offers an efficient tool to verify or reconstruct passport data. Using a high-throughput genotyping system with 15 microsatellite loci, we fingerprinted 482 accessions in 48 putative half-sib families of Refractario cacao (a group of germplasm collected from nine farms in Ecuador). Based on the multilocus profiles, a Bayesian method for individual assignment was applied to verify membership in each half-sib family. Multivariate statistical analysis showed that the Refractario genetic profile was different from other groups tested, except for the ''Nacional'' cacao from the coastal valley of Ecuador. Hierarchical partitioning of genetic variance in the Refractario cacao showed that 76% of the variation was contributed by intra-family difference, whereas the inter-family and inter-farm difference accounted for 15 and 9% of total variance, respectively. All three sources of variation were highly significant (P < 0.01). Cluster and Principal Coordinates Analyses revealed a population sub-structure in Refractario, which was also highly heterozygous, suggesting hybridization derived from Nacional cacao and multiple other parental varieties, which all shared a similar genetic background. The improved understanding of identities and structure in Refractario cacao will contribute to more efficient conservation and use of this germplasm group in cacao breeding.

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; microsatellite; variation génétique; identification; adn; germplasm; amélioration des plantes; Équateur

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