Genetic diversity studies provide fundamental information for characterization, conservation and utilization of available genetic resources in plant genetic improvement programs. To evaluate the genetic divergence among papaya accessions, 17 morphoagronomic variables from 59 accessions of the active germplasm bank were evaluated in an experiment at Santa Teresinha Farm, belonging to Caliman Agrícola S/A, in Linhares-ES, Brazil. The experiment was conducted in a randomized block design with two replicates. The divergence between the accessions was estimated using the Tocher optimization method and the agglomerative hierarchical approach based on the Unweighted Pair-Group Method Using an Arithmetic Average. (UPGMA). There was significant difference for all the variables evaluated, showing variability among the accessions. The variables plant height, first fruit insertion height, greatest thickness of fruit pulp, fruit diameter, and fruit length had heritability above 80%, indicating expressive gains in the simple process of selection. Genetic variability was found among the accessions, and Americano, short-peduncle-STZ-03 and Califlora 209 were the most divergent. The optimization methods Tocher and hierarchical based on UPGMA were partially concordant for the formation of heterotic groups of papaya accessions. The variables fruit mass, fruit diameter and plant height contributed the most to the genetic diversity.
Keywords: Carica papaya L., genetic variability, multivariate analysis.