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Genomics and population structure of macaúba (Acrocomia aculeata), aiming to subsidize the domestication of the species

Grant number: 17/22987-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2019
Effective date (End): July 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy
Principal Investigator:Maria Imaculada Zucchi
Grantee:Brenda Gabriela Díaz Hernández
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/23591-7 - Selection of donnor trees of macaúba aiming to biodiesel for forming garden seed and commercial seedlings production preserving genetic variability, AP.TEM


The growing global demand for vegetable oils for application in the food and oleochemicalindustries, as well as to guide global public policies for replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources, should lead to increased planting of oilseeds worldwide. Currently, 65% of the vegetable oil produced in the world is derived from only two sources, palm oil and soybean, indicating the need to diversify the oleaginous raw material. In this sense, the macaúba palm (Acrocomia aculeata) has aroused the interest of a large number of scientists, mainly in Brazil, because this species displays both productivityand oil quality similar to palm oil, and ocurrs spontaneously in a wide range of tropical and subtropical environments in the Americas, especially in cerrado areas. This growing interest has increased the commercial plantation of this species in Brazil, and preliminary production results are quite promising.Considered a species of incipient domestication, commercial cultivars are not yet available, and the challenges regarding the consolidation of the production chain of this species deserve the attention of the scientific community. In this context, in view of the importance of the domestication and genetic improvement of the macaúba palm, the aim of this research project is to better understand the population structure of Acrocomia aculeata in its area of occurrence. From a broad germplasm from several American countries, genomic data will be generated by the ddRAD-seq technique and genetic diversity will be derived from microsatellite markers, in order to analyze and understand the content and structuring of the genetic diversity of macaúba, with the aim of elucidating the genetic relationships between materials from different countries, identify the occurrence of possible interspecific natural hybrids, estimate the rate of species crossing and characterize the genetic variability of progenies derived from plants selected for high oil production. These results will support the pre-breeding and breeding programs of the species.

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