Research Article

Cassava, Manihot esculenta Crantz, genetic resources: origin of the crop, its evolution and relationships with wild relatives

Published: November 08, 2002
Genet. Mol. Res. 1 (4) : 298-305

Abstract

About 98 species of Manihot are known. All of them are native to the New World and are concentrated in four regions in Brazil and Central America. All the Manihot species so far examined have 2n = 36 chromosomes. Interspecific hybrids between cassava and its wild relatives show relatively normal meiosis, and further generations can be obtained. Electrophoresis shows affinity among wild species of different sections, and between some of them and cassava. Both polyploidy and apomixis may have contributed to speciation in this genus. Polyploidy produced genetic variability, while apomixis is responsible for perpetuating new hybrid types adapted to different environments. Cassava may have originated by hybridization between two wild Manihot species, followed by vegetative reproduction of the hybrid.

About 98 species of Manihot are known. All of them are native to the New World and are concentrated in four regions in Brazil and Central America. All the Manihot species so far examined have 2n = 36 chromosomes. Interspecific hybrids between cassava and its wild relatives show relatively normal meiosis, and further generations can be obtained. Electrophoresis shows affinity among wild species of different sections, and between some of them and cassava. Both polyploidy and apomixis may have contributed to speciation in this genus. Polyploidy produced genetic variability, while apomixis is responsible for perpetuating new hybrid types adapted to different environments. Cassava may have originated by hybridization between two wild Manihot species, followed by vegetative reproduction of the hybrid.

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