Genetic variability among cashew hybrids and prediction of superior combinations based on agronomic performance

Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate the use of RAPD and ISSR molecular markers to determine the genetic variability among cashew (Anacardium spp.) genotypes, and to indicate possible promising crosses based on cashew genetic variability and phenotypic performance. Ten hybrids - derived from the crosses CCP 76 x BGC 589, CCP 76 x BRS 226, CCP 76 x HAC 276-1, CCP 76 x Embrapa 51, CCP 76 x BRS 253, CCP 76 x HAC222-4, and BRS226 x Embrapa 51 - and their parents were assessed at the molecular level. The hybrids were evaluated for nut yield, mean nut weight, bored nuts, and powdery mildew on nuts (scale 0-4). The RAPD and ISSR markers were efficient in the determinaton of the genetic variability among cashew genotypes, allowing of the grouping of 21 clusters. Associated with the phenotypic characterization of cashew nut for yield, weight, and health, the used markers can efficiently identify possible combinations with higher genetic variability and higher probability of developing transgressive genotypes in segregating populations.