RAPD markers have been used successfully in genetic analysis of several crop plants. This method poses difficulties with a highly heterozygous species such as Theobroma cacao because of the dominant phenotypic expression of bands. A backcross family derived from ctultivars Catongo and Pound 12 was analyzed to determine the efficacy of RAPD markers in analyzing cacao populations. A preliminary screen of the parents and the F1 plant used as the backcross parent was conducted with 180 RAPD primers; of these, 26% were polymorphic and reproducible and produced 104 storable loci. Genomic DNA from 54 individuals of the backcross population was then amplified with these primers; 68.3 % of the loci segregated as expected in a Mendelian fashion. Separation of RAPD fragments on acrylamide revealed an additional polymorphic locus from one primer that was indistinguishable on agarose. The results demonstrated that RAPD markers can be used to study the cacao genome.
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