Brazilian Journal of Genetics
Print version ISSN 0100-8455
Multivariate genetic divergence and hybrid performance of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.). Braz. J. Genet. [online]. 1997, vol.20, n.1 ISSN 0100-8455. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-84551997000100012.
Genetic distances among cacao cultivars were calculated through multivariate analysis, using the D2 statistic, to examine racial group classification and to assess heterotic hybrids. A 5 x 5 complete diallel was evaluated. Over a five-year period (1986-1990), five cultivars of the S1 generation, pertaining to the Lower Amazon Forastero and Trinitario racial groups and 20 crosses between the corresponding S0 parents were analyzed, based upon five yield components - number of healthy and collected fruits per plant (NHFP and NCFP), wet seed weight per plant and per fruit (WSWP and WSWF), and percentage of diseased fruits per plant (PDFP). The diversity analysis suggested a close relationship between the Trinitario and Lower Amazon Forastero groups. A correlation coefficient (r) was calculated to determine the association between genetic diversity and heterosis. Genetic distance of parents by D2 was found to be linearly related to average performance of hybrids for WSWP and WSWF (r = 0.68, P < 0.05 and r = 0.76, P < 0.05, respectively). The heterotic performance for the same components was also correlated with D2, both with r = 0.66 (P < 0.05). A relationship between genetic divergence and combining ability effects was suggested because the most divergent cultivar exhibited a high general combining ability, generating the best performing hybrids. Results indicated that genetic diversity estimates can be useful in selecting parents for crosses and in assessing relationships among cacao racial groups.