The systematic description of cacao clones and its significance for taxonomy and plant breeding

J.M.M. Engels

Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


The value of germplasm collections depends to a large extent on the data accompanying the individual accessions. In order to facilitate the selection of the most useful characters for the systematic description of a cacao germplasm collection methods were developed to measure and to compare the discriminative values of both qualitative and quantitative characters. The relationships between cacao clones were studied as it was expected that they would influence the value of the discriminatory power of a given character for a given group of clones and some conclusions with regard to breeding of cacao were developed from the study of the relationships between characters.

The mode of inheritance of some qualitative and quantitative characters was studied using the data of a complete diallel cross, in order to determine the relationship between the discriminative value of a character and its inheritance. Although such a relationship could not be established there were strong indications that the qualitative characters examined follow tetraploid rather than diploid inheritance. Following the results and based on progeny testing and clonal propagation a breeding method was proposed for a more efficient utilization of cacao germplasm.

Classical taxonomic classifications were proven to be useful. However, to enable correct identification of cacao clones in a germplasm collection it was felt advisable to propose a new classification.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Parlevliet, J.E., Promotor
  • van der Maesen, L.J.G., Promotor
Award date12 Sept 1986
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 1986


  • biological nomenclature
  • classification
  • clones
  • cocoa
  • gene banks
  • genetic resources
  • germplasm
  • plant genetic resources
  • resource conservation
  • taxonomy
  • theobroma cacao


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