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Title: Molecular fingerprinting of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) genetic resources in the Dominican Republic

item Boza, Edward
item Irish, Brian
item Meerow, Alan
item MOTAMAYOR, JUAN - M & M Mars Company - United States
item VENTURA-LOPEZ, MARISOL - Dominican Institute For Agricultural And Forestry Research (IDIAF)
item GOMEZ, JAMIE - National Confederation Of Dominican Cocoa Farmers, Conacado
item SCHNELL, RAYMOND - M & M Mars Company - United States

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/16/2011
Publication Date: 1/16/2011
Citation: 2011. Molecular fingerprinting of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) genetic resources in the Dominican Republic. Meeting Abstract. XIX Annual International Plant & Animal Genome Conference, January 11-15, 2011, San Diego, CA..

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) is a significant agricultural commodity in the Dominican Republic ranking 11th in the world and number one in organic cacao exports. Dominican cacao genetic resources are maintained, propagated and distributed nationally out of the IDIAF’s Mata Larga research stations. The collections there include introduced, clonally propagated accessions as well as a number of local farmer selections made for their disease resistance and productivity. As in any clonally propagated collection, over time propagation mistakes tend to accumulate. In an effort to identify propagation mistakes and estimate genetic diversity in the germplasm a high throughput genotyping system using a set of internationally SSR makers was employed to fingerprint all (803) cacao trees and a number (152) of farmer selections. Comparisons of repeat plants across plantings showed a significant rate of mislabeling within clonal accessions (intra-plant errors at 45%). Furthermore, a number of synonymous groups of accessions with different names could be resolved. When genotypes for local selections were compared to reference samples for ten recently described cacao populations, many showed a predominant ‘Amelonado’ and ‘Criollo’ background, the latter being associated with the white seeded trait, and organoleptic characteristics. Other farmer selections had mixed genetic backgrounds of hybrid nature or ‘Trinitarios’. The goals of the current research are to increase productivity on small-holder cacao farms in the Dominican Republic and the correct identification of genetic resources utilized in the cacao breeding and propagation programs is a first step in the improvement of this valuable agricultural industry.