Generation and characterization of a population of Tagetes minuta of broad genetic base - Obtaining selected individuals

Y Massuh, LE Torres, SF Ocaño, P Bruentti, AG Chaves, JA Zygadlo, MS Ojeda


Tagetes minuta L. (Asteraceae) is an annual herb that isof great interest due to the bioactive properties of its essential oil (EO)and its industrial use. In Argentina, 0.5 tons/year of EO are obtainedfrom wild populations and commercialized with a value of 80-120US$/kg. The introduction of the species in culture, and the initiationof a process of domestication, selection and breeding material aimedat generating higher yields and quality of EO as an alternative to wildcollection. The goal of this work was to generate a population with abroad genetic base to obtain high phenotypic variability, and characterizethe individuals morphologically and chemically, thus identifyingand selecting those with outstanding characteristics. From seedsobtained by free crossing of plants of different provenances grown ina preliminary test, a population of broad genetic base was generatedin an experimental plot. Quantitative and qualitative morphologicaltraits were measured in all plants and the selection criteria were definedto form a selected population. The morphological selection criteria(height, plant structure and Nº of branches) were met by 26% ofthe evaluated plants, of which 2.7% presented interesting EO compositions(selected individuals). Descriptive, principal components andcorrespondence analysis were made. Great variability in the populationof broad genetic base was found regarding the analyzed characters.Since our character definitions allowed to compare and differentiatethe evaluated plants, they were considered as good descriptors of thespecies. The selected individuals were differentiated morphologicallyinto two groups and chemically into three groups, which differed intheir EO main compounds. The selection of these individuals constitutesthe initial stage of this ongoing work that will enable us to continuethe process of domestication and breeding of the species orientedto obtain selected chemotypes.

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Phyton. International Journal of Experimental Botany. ISSN print 0031-9457 ISSN en line 1851-5657 Fundación Rómulo Raggio Gaspar Campos 861,  Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina (C.P. 1638) Tel 54 11 4791-0868 / 4796-1456