Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 421–434 | Cite as

Morphological Variation of Fruit in Mexican Populations of Cocos nucifera L. (Arecaceae) under in situ and ex situ Conditions

  • Daniel Zizumbo-Villarreal
  • Miguel Fernández-Barrera
  • Nelson Torres-Hernández
  • Patricia Colunga-GarcíaMarín


Morphological variation of the coconut fruit measured in situ has been used to estimate genetic diversity, and generate hypotheses about the evolutionary and geographical diffusion of coconut. Some authors have questioned the validity of this methodology due to the possibly high effect of the environment on the morphological characteristics of the fruit. The general aim of this study is to validate this methodology through: (1) characterizing the pattern of morphological variation of the fruit under homogeneous growing conditions ex situ; (2) comparing this pattern with those already reported in situ; (3) estimating the heritability values for the components of fruit in coconut. Results are also discussed in comparison with ex situ leaf variation and biochemical and molecular variation patterns previously studied. Principal components and discriminant analyses indicated that the characters that best differentiate groups are basically the same in situ and ex situ. Grouping patterns obtained with principal components and cluster analysis were similar for both growing conditions. They were also similar to the grouping pattern obtained with ex situ leaf characters. No significant differences were found in the variation coefficients of fruit characters between the same populations in situ and ex situ. Consistency was found between patterns of morphological variation of fruit ex situ and in situ, and those obtained using iso-enzymatic and molecular characteristics. The results are also consistent with hypotheses on the origin and diffusion of the germplasm introduced to Mexico. High values of heritability were found in nine characters. Weight and water percentage showed the highest values (0.88 and 0.883), with a strong correlation to the mass and the roundness of fruit and seed, suggesting that human selection of these characteristics led to the differentiation of domesticated populations. We conclude that morphological characterization of the coconut fruit in situ is useful to estimate its genetic variability because of its simplicity, speed and ease of application in the field and in remote areas.


Characterization Cocos nucifera Conservation Evolution Germplasm Morphological variation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ashburner, G.R., Tompson, W.K., Halloran, G.M., Foale, M.A. 1997Fruit component analysis of South Pacific coconut palm populationsGenet. Resour. Crop Evol.44327336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashburner, G.R., Tompson, W.K., Halloran, G.M. 1997RAPD analysis of South Pacific coconut palm populationsCrop Sci.32992997Google Scholar
  3. Baudouin, L., Lebrun, P. 2002The development of a microsatellite kit and dedicated software for use with coconutsBurotop171620Google Scholar
  4. Bourdeix, R. 1999Selection and breedingOhler, J.G. eds. Modern Coconut Management.Intermediate Technology PublicationsLondon, UK117185Google Scholar
  5. Colunga, G.-M.P., Estrada-Loera, E., May-Pat, F. 1996Patterns of morphological variation, diversity and domestication of wild and cultivated populations of Agave in Yucatan, MexicoAm. J. Bot.83126140Google Scholar
  6. Duch, G.J. 1991Fisiografí de estado de Yucatán: su relación con la agriculturaUACHChapingo229Google Scholar
  7. Foale M.A. (1987). Coconut germplasm in the south Pacific islands, ACIAR. Technical Reports No. 4. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  8. Garcí, E. 1973Modificaciones al sistema de clasificación climática de KoppenUNAMMéxicoGoogle Scholar
  9. Harries, H.C. 1978The evolution, dissemination and classification of Cocos nucifera LBot. Rev.44265319Google Scholar
  10. Harries, H.C.,  et al. 1990Malesian origin for a domestic CocosnuciferaBaas, P. eds. The Plant Diversity of Malesia.KluwerDordrecht351357Google Scholar
  11. Harries, H.C. 1992Biogeography of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.)Principes36155161Google Scholar
  12. Hedrick, P.W. 2000Genetics of Populations2Jones and BartlettBoston, MAGoogle Scholar
  13. Lebrun, P., N’cho, Y.P., Seguin, M., Grivet, L., Baudouin, L. 1998Genetic diversity in coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) reveled by restriction fragment length (RFLP) markersEuphytica101103108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Liyanage, D.V., Sakai, I. 1961Heritabilities of certain yield characters of the coconut palmJ. Genet.57245252Google Scholar
  15. Meunier, J., Sangare, A., Le Saint, J.P., Bonnot, F. 1984Analyse genetique des caracteres du rendement chez quelques hybrids de cocotier Cocos nucifera LOléagineux.39581586Google Scholar
  16. Miller, RG.,Jr. 1981Simultaneous Statistical InferenceSpringerNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Perera L., Russell J.R., Provan J., Mcnicol J.W., Powell W. (1998). Evaluating genetic relationships between indigenous coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) accessions from Sri Lanka by means of AFLP’s profiling Theor. Appl. Genet. 545–550Google Scholar
  18. Perera, L., Rusell, J.R., Provan, J., Powell, W. 2001Levels and distribution of genetic diversity of coconut (Cocos nucifera var Typica form typicals) from Sri Lanka assessed by microsatellite markersEuphytica122381391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ohler, J.G. eds. 1999Modern Coconut ManagementIntermediate Technology PublicationsLondon, UKGoogle Scholar
  20. Ranasinghe, T.K.G. 1999Coconut processingOhler, J. eds. Modern Coconut Management.Intermediate Technology PublicationsLondon, UK343387Google Scholar
  21. Rivera, R., Edwards, K.J., Baker, J.H.A., Arnold, G.M., Ayad Hodgkin, T., Karp, A. 2000Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellites in Cocos nucifera LGenome42668675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. SAS. (1992). SAS/STAT User’s Guide, Release 6.03 Edition. SAS Institute, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  23. Sokal R., Braumann C.A. (1980). Significance tests for coefficients of variation and variability profiles. System. Zool. 50–65Google Scholar
  24. Whitehead R.A.W. (1966). Sample Survey and Collections Coconut Germplasm in the Pacific Islands (30 May– September 1964). Ministry of Overseas Development, and HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Whitehead, R.A.W. 1968Collection of Coconut Germplasm from the Indian/Malayan Region, Peru and Seychelles Islands and Testing for Resistance to Lethal Yellowing Disease in JamaicaFAORomeGoogle Scholar
  26. Vargas, A., Blanco, F.A. 2000Fruit characterization of Cocos nucifera L. (ARECACEAE) cultivars from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and the PhilippinesGenet. Resour. Crop Evol.47483487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Zizumbo-Villarreal, D. 1996History of coconut in Mexico: 1549–1810Genet. Resour. Crop Evol.43505515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Zizumbo-Villarreal, D., Arellano Morín, J. 1995Coconut variation and genetic resourcesOropeza, C.Howard, F.W.Ashburner, G.R. eds. Lethal Yellowing: Research and Practical Aspects.KluwerDordrecht173186Google Scholar
  29. Zizumbo-Villarreal, D., Hernandez-Roque, F., Harries, H.C. 1993Coconut varieties in MexicoEcon. Bot.476578Google Scholar
  30. Zizumbo-Villarreal, D., Piñero, R.D. 1998Pattern of morphological variation and diversity of Cocos nucifera (Arecaceae) in MexicoAm. J. Bot.85855865Google Scholar
  31. Zizumbo-Villarreal, D., Colunga-GarcíMarín, P. 2001Morpho-physiological variation and phenotypic plasticity in Mexican populations of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.). GenetResour. Crop Evol.48547554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zizumbo-Villarreal, D., Cardeña, R., Piñero, D. 2002Diversity and phylogenetic analysis in Cocos nucifera L. in MexicoGenet. Resour. Crop Evol.49237245CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Zizumbo-Villarreal
    • 1
  • Miguel Fernández-Barrera
    • 1
  • Nelson Torres-Hernández
    • 1
  • Patricia Colunga-GarcíaMarín
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación Científica de YucatánUnidad de Recursos NaturalesMéridaMexico

Personalised recommendations