Genetic diversity among bitter palm populations in the state of Goiás
ABSTRACT Bitter palm is a palm tree species that produces bitter core, which is too appreciated in cooking and can be used in animal feeding, as well as in landscaping, but it is still little studied, which hinders strategies for its cultivation and breeding. The present work aimed at evaluating the genetic divergence among bitter palm populations of three municipalities of Goiás and quantifying the relative contribution of eight characteristics in the diversity, using multivariate procedures. Twenty-four individuals from three populations were analyzed, with individuals from three plants with 30 and 36 months of age. The characteristics evaluated were: stipe diameter, number of definitive leaves, plant height, length of first green leaf, number of leaf sheaths, length and weight of heart of palm, and diameter of heart of palm base. The genetic diversity of the populations was evaluated by Tocher’s grouping method based on the dissimilarity matrix obtained by standardized mean Euclidean distance and the principal component analysis with graphical dispersion in the Cartesian plane. The results demonstrated the existence of genetic variability and heritability estimates of high magnitude for plant height, leaf length, stalk diameter at 10 cm soil, number of heart of palm sheaths, and core diameter of heart of palm. The performance of the grouping by Tocher’s method based on the dissimilarity matrix promoted the formation of eight groups, evidencing the influence of the geographical origin in the grouping and the selection in non-destructive characters of high genetic correlation as stalk diameter and leaf length can promote important gains in the production of heart of palm.