Jatropha belonging to Euphorbiaceae family has around 170 species distributed throughout tropical semi-arid regions of Africa and the Americas. Some of its species include Jatropha curcas L. (Physic Nut), Jatropha pohliana Müll.Arg. (Brazilian Purging Nut) and Jatropha gossypiifolia L. (Black Physic Nut). Phenotypic and genetic studies of a population are important for plant improvements, helping in the characterization of accesses, as well as facilitating selection of parental for directed crossings. Thus, the present study aimed to evaluate accesses of three Jatropha species from different regions of Brazil, through morphological characters and ISSR molecular markers, in order to group them according to the existing degree of divergence. A higher interspecific variability, rather than intraspecific, was observed among accesses, for morphological as well as molecular characters. Qualitative and quantitative characters showed variability between accesses and may serve as reference for future genetic studies. There was no relation between similarity patterns and geographical origin of accesses in the group analysis. Average percentage of polymorphism found for inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers between the studied accesses was 40.6%. A higher genetic variability interspecific was observed than intraspecific, suggesting the search for genetic variability among species Jatropha through interspecific crosses.
Key words: Germplasm, Jatropha curcas, Jatropha gossypiifolia, Jatropha pohliana, variability.
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