Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 15:26 | Cite as

Phylogenetic and evolutionary applications of analyzing endocarp morphological characters by classification binary tree and leaves by SSR markers for the characterization of olive germplasm

  • G. C. Koubouris
  • E. V. Avramidou
  • I. T. Metzidakis
  • P. V. Petrakis
  • C. K. Sergentani
  • A. G. DoulisEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Evolution


Seed (endocarp) morphology is useful for genotype discrimination and cultivar classification. Over a 20-year period, 504 olive trees (Olea europaea subsp. europaea) previously assigned to different cultivars originating from Greece (n = 37), Spain (n = 2), and Italy (n = 2) as well as one accession of Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata were evaluated employing 11 endocarp morphological markers and 9 SSR markers. A matrix of 42 morphotypes in total was subjected to classification binary tree (CBT) analysis. In addition, cultivars were fingerprinted employing 9 microsatellite (SSR) markers and placed on a similarity dendrogram. All 41 olive cultivars and one accession of Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata employed in the present study yielded different morphological profiles produced by the 11 endocarp traits. In the resulting CBT, the total reduction in error, that is, the total information in the set of all 42 morphotypes, was 100%. This meant that the set of 11 morphological characters—having 28 different states in all—was sufficient to remove all data noise and to correctly classify all examined olive cultivars. In addition, all olive cultivars were successfully discriminated by the 9 SSR markers employed. It is suggested that cultivars with large seeds—and concomitantly large fruits—are more distant from the wild forms and probably more evolved compared to cultivars with small seeds. In corroboration to the above, based on seed shape, some of the olive cultivars showed high resemblance to wild olives leading thus to the hypothesis that they were produced or selected during the early ages of olive domestication.


Cluster Cultivar Germplasm management Olea europaea subsp. europaea Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata 



The authors express their gratitude to Ms Angelina Zapolska and Dr. Vasilios Ziogas for their assistance in image capture and processing. Continuous support by Georgios Kostelenos Nurseries is also acknowledged. Last but not least thanks to the numerous colleagues who contributed to endocarp measurements during the past two decades and more.

Funding information

Financial support from H.A.O. DEMETER and several projects is appreciated, first among all, the Resgen project CT—1996–1997 and the International Olive Council. This work was also partially funded—for the SSR part—by the Greek Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT), project Regional Innovation Pole of Crete, “i4Crete, A8—Integrated system of olive oil fingerprinting control and promotion—11RIPC06” to AGD and to ITM which was coordinated by the Heraklion Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

Data archiving statement

All relevant raw data will be freely available to any scientist wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes. No nucleic acid sequences, protein sequences, genetic maps, SNPs, expression data, etc. were produced in this study. All morphological data used for morphometric analysis and CBT construction, along with all names of analyzed cultivars, are presented in Table 1 of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. C. Koubouris
    • 1
  • E. V. Avramidou
    • 2
  • I. T. Metzidakis
    • 1
  • P. V. Petrakis
    • 3
  • C. K. Sergentani
    • 1
  • A. G. Doulis
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Olive Tree, Subtropical Crops & Viticulture, Laboratory of Olive CultivationHellenic Agricultural Organization (H.A.O.) “Demeter” (ex. N.AG.RE.F.)ChaniaGreece
  2. 2.Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems, Athens, Laboratory of Silviculture, Forest Genetics and BiotechnologyHellenic Agricultural Organization (H.A.O.) “Demeter” (ex NAGREF)AthensGreece
  3. 3.Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems, Laboratory of Forest EntomologyHellenic Agricultural Organization (H.A.O.) “Demeter” (ex. NAGREF)AthensGreece
  4. 4.Institute of Olive Tree, Subtropical Crops & Viticulture, Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology and Genomic ResourcesHellenic Agricultural Organization “Demeter” (ex. NAGREF)HeraklionGreece

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