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Genetic diversity and relationships between wild and cultivated olives (Olea europaea L.) in Sardinia as assessed by SSR markers

Erre, Patrizia, Chessa, Innocenza, Muñoz-Diez, Concepción, Belaj, Angjelina, Rallo, Luis, Trujillo, Isabel
Genetic resources and crop evolution 2010 v.57 no.1 pp. 41-54
Bayesian theory, Olea europaea, alleles, cultivars, genetic background, genetic relationships, genetic variation, germplasm conservation, heterozygosity, major genes, microsatellite repeats, olives, trees, Sardinia
The genetic relationships within and between wild and cultivated olives were examined and clarified in an isolated and restricted area, such as the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Wild (21 individuals) and cultivated olive trees (22 local cultivars from a germplasm collection and 35 ancient trees) were genotyped by means of 13 SSR loci. Five cases of synonymy were observed and nine distinct genotypes were identified in the collection. Five novel genotypes were also detected among the ancient trees. Differences on the allelic composition and heterozygosity levels were found between wild and cultivated trees. Model-based clustering method classified the olive trees into two major gene pools: (a) wild genotypes and (b) local cultivars from the collection and from heritage olives. Regarding the cultivated plant material, we observed that: (a) most of the Sardinian cultivars shared the same allelic profiles with the ancient cultivated trees and (b) the majority of these cultivars and all the novel genotypes were not related to any other cultivars included in this study. These findings as well as the detection of unique alleles and a certain wild genetic background at some cultivars revealed by the Bayesian analysis may indicate their autochthonous origin. The synonymy cases found between local cultivars and Italian mainland cultivars indicate interchange of genetic material among these growing areas, suggesting thus a possible allochthonous origin. The information obtained can assist in the management of an olive collection and sheds some light on the survival of true oleasters and the origin of Sardinian cultivars.