Genetic differentiation of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) populations revealed by RAPD analysis

Mol Ecol. 1993 Apr;2(2):89-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294x.1993.tb00003.x.


In order to preserve and exploit the valuable genetic resources of tropical forest trees, such as cocoa, a systematic assessment of the available genetic variability is necessary. The approach we have used is based on a simple mini-prep DNA extraction procedure together with a polymerase-chain-reaction- (PCR)-based polymorphic assay procedure (RAPD). Twenty-five cocoa accessions: IMCs and PAs collected from Peru and LCTEENs collected from Ecuador, which are difficult to distinguish using morphological or biochemical descriptors, were uniquely fingerprinted using a minimum of three oligonucleotide primers. Analysis of the variability detected using RAPDs clearly discriminated between the geographical origin of the three cocoa populations. Partitioning of variability into within and between population components revealed that most variation was detected within a population. The potential of RAPD analysis to facilitate the rationalization of field gene banks and provide accurate estimates of diversity to allow optimization of collecting strategies is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cacao / genetics*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Ecosystem
  • Gene Amplification
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Genetic


  • DNA Primers