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Daymond, A. ORCID: and Bekele, F. (2022) Cacao. In: Priyadarshan, P. and Mohan Jain, S. (eds.) Cash Crops. Biomedical and Life Sciences. Springer, pp. 23-53. ISBN 9783030749255

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-74926-2_2


Cacao originates from the rainforests of South America, the centre of diversity being the Upper Amazon region. However, present-day cultivation extends through the humid tropics with the largest proportion being in West Africa. Ex situ conservation of cacao is particularly important due to the incremental loss of native (wild) habitats and replacement of traditional varieties on farms. It is estimated that over 24,000 cacao accessions are conserved in genebanks, many of which are associated with national research institutes. There are currently two international genebanks for cacao (in Trinidad and in Costa Rica) that have been put under the auspices of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Breeding approaches have tended to focus on improving yields and resistance to pests and diseases and have often utilised a relatively narrow genetic base. In order to meet on-going and future challenges to cocoa production, including the need for greater climate resilience and more easily managed, productive cacao farms, it is necessary to utilise a broader range of genetic resources. Advances in genomic technology may accelerate breeding efforts and can be used to identify off-types and redundancies in collections. Underlying breeding efforts, there is a critical need for on-going conservation, characterisation, evaluation and utilisation of cacao genetic resources.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:101419

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