Family agriculture is a rich germplasm source wherever it takes place; however, information on genetic variability of this type of culture in Brazil is scarce. Samples of melon (Cucumis melo L.) accessions grown by family agriculture were rescued and this study aimed at characterizing the genetic variability in one sample of these accessions so as to identify the melon subspecies and the corresponding varieties. Fifteen accessions and their S1 progenies were characterized (quantitative and qualitative descriptors) in two field experiments carried out in randomized blocks. Data on the parental and S1 generations were compared and it was possible to identify the subspecies Cucumis melo subsp. agrestis and their varieties C. melo var. makuwa and C. melo var. momordica, and the subspecies C. melo subsp. melo and its variety C.melo var. cantalupensis, although some sub-accessions remained unidentified. A total of 26 subaccessions were found. UPGMA grouping method showed a high genetic diversity among and within accessions and sub-accessions. Clusters were formed by the melon subspecies, although there were discrepancies. Nonetheless, there is indication of trait introgression from the two melon subspecies and their varieties in the material grown by the family farmers of the state of Maranhão.
Key words: Cucumis melo, botanical variety, traditional agriculture.
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