Carica papaya L. is a native fruit from Central America and Mexico and it is an economically important fruit. As a pre-breeding genetic study, the variability of both parents (L7 and M22) and the F1 individuals derived from their crosses (L7 × M22), was evaluated in terms of 32 morphochemical traits, and contrasted with their genetic diversity indicated by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. According to morphochemical traits, L7 and M22 were grouped in two different clades. The first group included L7 and 13 genotypes from the F1, while a second group included the parent M22 and 15 other genotypes from the F1 progeny. The analysis based on morphochemical traits showed an average correlation of 0.652 among genotypes. For AFLP analysis the combination of the primers E-ACA/M-CTA had the best polymorphic index (72.73%). When they were grouped based on AFLPs markers, it was confirmed that both parents are genetically distant, and they were again grouped in two different clades. Five genotypes from the F1 population were grouped in the same clade as L7 and shared 55% similarity. Twenty six genotypes were grouped in the same clade as M22, showing 63.3% similarity. Another 12 genotypes (mainly female genotypes) were grouped in a third independent clade. This relative general agreement between the grouping based on a large number of morphochemical traits (including both plant and fruit traits) and that based on its genetic diversity using AFLPs, suggests that morphochemical characterization, together with genetic analysis by AFLPs, can be complementary and useful techniques for the identification and assessment of genetic diversity within C. papaya L. genotypes, that should be useful for genetic breeding programs of this important species.
Key words: Morphological markers, AFLP markers, genetic similarity, Carica papaya L.
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