Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 213–221 | Cite as

Substantial genetic diversity in cultivated Moroccan olive despite a single major cultivar: a paradoxical situation evidenced by the use of SSR loci

Original Paper


To assess the genetic diversity in Moroccan cultivated olive, Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea, we performed molecular analysis of olive trees sampled in four geographic zones representing all areas of traditional olive culture. The analysis of 215 trees using 15 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci revealed 105 alleles distributed among 60 SSR profiles. The analysis of chloroplast deoxyribonucleic acid polymorphism for these 60 olive genotypes allowed to identify four chlorotypes: 42 CE1, one CE2, nine COM1 and eight CCK. Among the 60 SSR profiles, 52 corresponded to cultivated olive trees for which neither denomination nor characterisation is available. These local olive genotypes displayed a spatial genetic structuring over the four Moroccan geographic zones (northwest, north centre, Atlas and southwest), as pairwise Fst values ranged from 0.0394 to 0.1383 and varied according to geographic distance. As single alleles detected in local olive were also observed in Moroccan oleaster populations, results suggest that plant material was mainly selected from indigenous populations. The assumption that Picholine marocaine cultivar is a multi-clonal cultivar was not supported by our data because we found a single genotype for 112 olive trees representing 31 to 93% of the olives sampled locally in the 14 different areas. Picholine marocaine and the few other named cultivars do not seem to belong to the same gene pools as the unnamed genotypes cultivated only locally. The situation is paradoxical: a substantial genetic diversity in Moroccan olive germplasm, probably resulting from much local domestication, but a single cultivar is predominant.


Olea europaea L. SSR genotyping DNA chloroplast polymorphism Spatial genetic structure Local olive domestication 



We whish to thank Drs. B. Boulouha and N. Ouazzani who provided some olive samples for the study. All molecular genotyping was performed in the laboratory: “Atelier de marquage moléculaire,” UMR DGPC, which has a convention with the “Conservatoire Botanique National Méditerranéen de Porquerolles” for fruit genetic resources study. We are grateful to S. Santoni and D. Bru for their support in SSR genotyping. During the whole study, the encouragement and help of Dr. F. Boillot and Prof. F. Dosba were decisive. Comments on an earlier version of the manuscript from J.I. Hormaza and F. Kjellberg and on the revised one from Ph. Chatelet were greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conservatoire Botanique National Méditerranéen de PorquerollesHyères cedexFrance
  2. 2.Ecologie et Biologie des PopulationsFaculté des Sciences de TétouanM’hannech II TétouanMorocco
  3. 3.UR Amélioration Génétique des PlantesINRAMarrakechMorocco
  4. 4.Laboratoire de Biotechnologie et Phytopathologie MoléculaireFaculté des Sciences et Techniques GuélizMarrakechMorocco
  5. 5.UMR DAP, INRAMontpellier Cedex 1France

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