DIVERSITY AND GENETIC STRUCTURE OF NATURAL POPULATIONS OF ARAÇÁ (Psidium guineense Sw.)

ABSTRAT: Psidium guineense Sw, popularly known as araçá, is a fruit tree there is widely distributed in Brazil and belongs to the Myrtaceae family. In northeastern Brazil, araçá occurs along coast and in the Zona da Mata; its fruit looks like guava but is more acidic and has a stronger smell. There is a little information about this species, which increases the difficulty of conserving its genetic resources and exploiting araçá as an economic resource. The objective of this research was the evaluation of the genetic diversity and genetic structure of P. guineense from Pernambuco's Zona da Mata. One hundred and fourteen individuals and 18 isozyme loci were evaluated, showing 28 alleles. The percentage of polymorphic loci () and the average number of alleles per locus () were 0.5 and 1.5, respectively, in this population. The expected heterozygosity, which corresponds to the genetic diversity, ranged from 0.22 to 0.23, a high value when considering that isozymes mark access from the functional genome. The differentiation index among the population was () = 0.015; therefore, the populations were not different among the sampled places. The inbreeding values () ranged from -0.549 to -0.794, indicating an absence of inbreeding and a greater-than-expected heterozygosity in all the studied populations. The estimated gene flow (Nm) for a pair of this population ranged from 3.23 to 20.77, sufficient to avoid genetic differentiation among the population and in accordance with the values of genetic divergence found in this study.