Diversity of Olea genotypes and the origin of cultivated olives
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Tandem repeats belonging to three DNA sequence families (OeTaq80, OeTaq178, and OeGEM86) were isolated from the nuclear DNA of Olea europaea cv. Carolea and dot-hybridized to the genomic DNA of 14 hypothetically different Olea species, 78 olive cultivars, and 14 wild olives. The copy number per unreplicated haploid genome of OeTaq80- and OeTaq178-related sequences was in the 107–106 range and that of OeGEM86-related sequences was in the 105 range in cultivars, wild olives and some Olea species. A large variation in the frequency of repeats belonging to each sequence family was observed within each group of plants. Positive correlations existed in each genome between the frequencies of repeats belonging to each family, and their overall frequency was positively correlated to the genome size. Duncan grouping showed that the frequency variation of tandem repeats within each group of plants was not continuous. Two main groups and several subgroups of genotypes could be separated within both the olive cultivars and the wild olives. Discrete areas in the Mediterranean Basin could be delimited by the geographic distribution of cultivated olives with different genotypes and the wild plants were associated with the cultivars in these areas according to genotypic similarity. The Olea species could be divided into four genotypic groups. Three of these, comprising accessions from Asia and North Africa, showed similarity with the genotypes of cultivars and wild olives. These results suggest a polyphyletic origin of cultivated olives from different wild Olea forms distributed throughout the Mediterranean Basin.
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