Morphological diversity of cassava accessions of the south-central mesoregion of the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Genetic variability of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) in Brazil is wide, being this the result of natural and cultural selection during pre- and post-domestication of the species in different environments. Given the number of species of the genus found in the region (38 of a total of 98 species), the central region of Brazil was defined as the primary center of cassava diversity. Therefore, genetic diversity characterization of cassava accessions is fundamental, both for farmers and for plant breeders, because it allows the organization of genetic resources and better utilization of available genetic diversity. This research aims to assess genetic divergence of cassava accessions from the south-central region of the State of Mato Grosso, based on multi-categorical morphological traits. For this purpose, 38 qualitative and quantitative morphological descriptors were used. Genetic diversity was expressed by the genetic similarity index, with subsequent clustering of accessions by the modified Tocher's procedure and UPGMA. Of 38 descriptors, only growth habit of stem showed no variability. Tocher and UPGMA methods were efficient and corroborated on group composition. Both methods were able to group accessions of different localities in distinct group consistency.