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Molecular characterization of Lebanese olive germplasm

Rony, Chamoun, Baalbaki, Riad, Kalaitzis, Panagiotis, Talhouk, Salma N.
Tree genetics & genomes 2009 v.5 no.1 pp. 109-115
Olea europaea, alleles, amplified fragment length polymorphism, clones, genotype, germplasm, groves, microsatellite repeats, olives, provenance, trees, Lebanon, Mediterranean region
Lebanon, an East Mediterranean country, does not have a comprehensive reference national olive collection. A report published 30 years ago indicated the presence of four Lebanese varieties, but the confusion regarding these varieties was discussed then and is still prevalent today hindering prospects for conserving and exploring the national germplasm. This study assessed the existing in situ diversity of old Lebanese olive groves using simple sequence repeat (SSR) and amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP). Trees (140) were collected from 14 groves located in the four traditional olive areas. Analysis was based on 22 polymorphic alleles produced from six SSR primers, and on 135 polymorphic AFLP fragments. SSR and AFLP did not yield consistent results in terms of level of polymorphism, with SSR detecting higher variation than AFLP. On the other hand, both clustered trees based on geographic provenance. AFLP coefficient of similarity between trees ranged between 0.70 and 0.99 indicating the possible presence of varieties since some values fall within reported intervarietal ranges of 0.65 to 0.84. SSR unveiled the presence of nine different genotypes: four corresponding each to a provenance and five consisting of single trees characterized by the presence of less frequent alleles with an average of 0.33. Results also revealed a high incidence of clones greater than 90% in three of the four provenances. The findings of this study point for the need to plan for a sampling strategy that takes into consideration geographic provenances.