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Molecular charaterization of an earliest cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) collection from Upper Amazon using microsatellite DNA markers

Zhang D., Boccara M., Motilal L.A., Mischke S., Johnson E.S., Butler D.R., Bailey B., Meinhardt L.W.. 2009. Tree Genetics and Genomes, 5 (4) : p. 595-607.

DOI: 10.1007/s11295-009-0212-2

Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) is indigenous to the Amazon region of South America. The river basins in the Upper Amazon harbor a large number of diverse cacao populations. Since the 1930s, several numbers of populations have been collected from the present-day Peruvian Amazon and maintained as ex situ germplasm repositories in various countries, with the largest held in the International Cacao Genebank in Trinidad. The lack of information on population structure and pedigree relationship and the incorrect labeling of accessions are major concerns for efficient conservation and use of cacao germplasm. In the present study, we assessed the individual identity, sibship, and population structure in cacao populations collected from the present-day Loreto Region, Peru in the 1930- 1940s. Using a capillary electrophoresis genotyping system, we analyzed the simple sequence repeat variation of 612 cacao accessions collected from the Marañon, Nanay, and Ucayali river systems. A total of 180 cases of mislabeling were identified using a Bayesian clustering method for admixture detection. Using maximum likelihood-based methods, we reconstructed 78 full-sib families nested in 48 half-sib families, indicating that the pods collected in the 1930s were from 48 mother trees, maximum. Likelihood simulation also identified eight probable parents that are responsible for 117 pairs of mother-offspring relationships in this collection. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) and the Bayesian clustering method cohesively demonstrated a pronounced structure of genetic diversity, stratified by the river systems of the Peruvian Amazon. Our results also show that, in spite of the high level of allelic diversity in this collection, it was composed of a large number of related family members collected from a relatively small area, including a couple of sites in the Ucayali and Nanay rivers, as well as the lower Marañon river near Iquitos. The vast majority of the Peruvian Amazon, especially the upper Marañon River and its tributaries, have not been sampled by collecting expeditions. The improved understanding of the individual identities, genealogical relationships, and geographical origin of cacao germplasm in this collection will contribute to more efficient conservation and utilization of these germplasm. Additionally, this study also provides more baseline information to help guide future collecting expeditions in the Peruvian Amazon.

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; pérou; amazonie

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