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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348060

Research Project: Genetic Diversity Assessment of Cacao and Other Tropical Tree Crop Genetic Resources

Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory

Title: Assessing genetic diversity of cacao (Theobroma cacao l.) Chuncho in La Convención, Cusco-Peru

Author
item CESPEDES DEL POZO, WILTON - Instituto Nacional De Innovacion Agraria (INIA)
item BLAS SEVILLANO, RAUL - Universidad Católica Boliviana
item Zhang, Dapeng

Submitted to: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Cocoa Research
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2018
Publication Date: 7/5/2018
Citation: Cespedes Del Pozo, W., Blas Sevillano, R., Zhang, D. 2018. Assessing genetic diversity of cacao (Theobroma cacao l.) Chuncho in La Convención, Cusco-Peru. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Cocoa Research. November 13-17, 2017, Cusco, Peru. p. 1-8.

Interpretive Summary: Theobroma cacao is the source of raw material used to make chocolate and the center of diversity for this rain forest tree is the Amazon region of South America. Peru has a high level of plant biodiversity across the country and lies within the center of diversity for wild and domesticated Theobroma cacao. One of the unique Peruvian cacao type “Chuncho”, which is native to the Amazon in La Convencion province, Cusco, Peru was analysis to understand the genetic diversity within this cacao types. Of the 72 chunco accessions tested 60% were found to be 100% pure. The findings will allow the provide the basis for establishing conservation and genetic improvement of the Chuncho cacao variety. This information will be used by researchers, extension staff, germplasm curators and farmers to improve the conservation, genetic improvement and utilization of cacao, and ultimately benefits consumers of chocolate products.

Technical Abstract: Peru is a megadiverse country due to its biological, cultural, ethnic and historical wealth. It has been recognized as a world center for genetic resources and it is strategic for the food security of its inhabitants (MINAM, 2010). The Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG) declared Peruvian cocoa (Theobroma cocoa L.) as a natural patrimony of the nation. It created the National Registry of Peruvian Cocoa Growers (RNCCP) according to Ministerial Resolution No. 0144-2012-AG published in El Peruano newspaper on April 20, 2012. Peru is one of the main cocoa growing regions with a high diversity and a verifiable genetic variability of the various varieties, native races or ecotypes located in different areas of the country, such as Chuncho, Piura Porcelain and Peruvian National varieties. Peru is the second world producer of organic cocoa. The Chuncho cocoa variety is native to the Amazon in La Convencion province, Cusco, Peru. It was locally named by the Matsiguengas ethnic groups, who probably domesticated this plant (Bioversity, 2009). For further knowledge on the genetic diversity of the native Chuncho cocoa variety, 51 agrobotanical descriptors were used in selected plants of cocoa farms. Also, for the establishment of the Chuncho cocoa germplasm 72 accessions were made. In addition to their promising agronomic characteristics, 35 sensory profiles were identified. These are unique features in terms of fine flavor and aroma. In an area of about 250 km in La Convencion province in Cusco, 260 samples of Chuncho cocoa leaves were collected with the purpose of knowing their genetic variability by using 96 SNP molecular markers. DNA was extracted with the QIAamp kit and the QIAquick PCR purification kit. For DNA quantification, a UV-Vis NanoDrop 2000 spectrophotometer was used. For the genotyping with SNP markers, the FLUIDIGM EP1 TM system with 96 SNP markers was used in a digital matrix. The analysis of the information shows that around 60% of Chuncho cocoa is 100% pure and the rest is segregant material. This pure material is part of another genetic group besides the one proposed by Motamayor C. (2008). The findings will allow establishing the basis for the conservation and genetic improvement of the Chuncho cocoa variety.