Among the fruit species cultivated in subtropical climates, quince has productive cultivars with high horticultural potential. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the genetic divergence among quince cultivars through multivariate procedures and to identify cultivars for cultivation in the tropics through selection indices. Twenty-seven productive quince cultivars were grown in a location with a high-altitude tropical climate. The number of fruit, estimated yield, flowering period, number of buds, number of shoots, number of brindles per shoot, shoot length, average fruit weight, fruit length, and fruit diameter were measured. A multivariate principal component analysis (PCA) associated with the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic means (UPGMA) based on Gower distance and Pearson correlation coefficients was used to evaluate genetic divergence. Superior cultivars were defined by the selection index based on the rank summation index and the Z-index. UPGMA grouping indicated there was genetic variability among cultivars and showed that groups that were more dissimilar [e.g., the cultivars Bereckzy and Champion (distance = 0.69)] had the potential to be used in future stages of quince selection. The estimated yield, shoot length, fruit weight and diameter, and flowering period contributed to the maximum variability among quince cultivars. The selection indices identified cvs. Bereckzy, Alaranjado, and Alongado (30, 68, and 73 rank summation index, respectively) as superior, simultaneously considering the evaluated traits with greater potential for cultivation in the tropics.
This study was financed in part by the coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES) – Finance Code 001 and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), as well as the Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA) for providing the structure for carrying out the study.
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