Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a crop that produces oil with high content of oleic and linoleic acids, which has great quality for human consumption and industrial use, such as in biodiesel production, and cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The objective of this study was to quantify the genetic diversity among 20 safflower genotypes by morphological characteristics. The genotypes were grouped into nine groups based on the measurements of genetic divergence obtained by means of Mahalanobis distance (D2) and in the grouping by Tocher optimization method. Heritability coefficients ranged from 89 to 93% and b quotient was above 1.0 indicating that the variability in the population allows obtaining genetic gains for all traits. Grain yield is the character that most contributed to the genetic variability of the population studied. The accesses of Group V are favorable for use as parents in crosses to obtain new genotypes with high grain and oil yields, and desirable plant architecture.
Key words: Safflower, plant breeding, multivariate analysis, genetic variability, genetic parameters.
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