Plant Molecular Biology Reporter

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 575–585 | Cite as

Cultivated and Wild Olives in Crete, Greece—Genetic Diversity and Relationships with Major Turkish Cultivars Revealed by SSR Markers

  • M. Aksehirli-Pakyurek
  • G. C. Koubouris
  • P. V. Petrakis
  • S. Hepaksoy
  • I. T. Metzidakis
  • E. Yalcinkaya
  • A. G. DoulisEmail author
Original Paper


The genetic relationships between and within some traditionally grown cultivars of olive tree (Olea europaea L.) in Greece (island of Crete) and in Turkey were investigated. Cultivars from Crete included ‘Koroneiki’, ‘Throubolia’ and ‘Mastoidis’, while those from Turkey included ‘Samanli’ and ‘Gemlik’. Cultivars were represented by multiple genotypes of aged trees collected from the field, each one complying with established descriptors. Representative genotypes of wild olive trees from Crete were also employed. A total of 112 genotypes were analysed, employing seven microsatellite (SSR) loci yielding a total of 81 alleles, and reaching a cumulative probability of identity of 6.73 × 10−09 with a mean observed heterozygosity of 0.852. Analysis of molecular variance significantly partitioned genetic diversity between and within cultivars, albeit with no appreciable difference between the two levels of diversity. All cultivar genotypes aggregated along single, cultivar-specific clusters, pointing to human-driven selection. The two Turkish cultivars ‘Samanli’ and ‘Gemlik’ were grouped together. The Cretan cultivar ‘Throubolia’ grouped together with the two Turkish cultivars, indicating germplasm movement across the Aegean Sea during historical times. Some gene flow was observed between the Cretan cultivars and the native wild populations (likely feral forms). SSR alleles were ranked for their efficiency in discriminating the examined materials, thus establishing a molecular key for cultivar identification. An identification process is proposed including a classification binary tree and provided a method for sorting any new unknown material purportedly originating from any of the analysed cultivars.


Classification binary tree Cluster Cultivar Germplasm movement Wild olives 



The research presented herein was funded 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. Ms. M. Aksehirli-Pakyurek’s research visit to NAGREF was funded by an Erasmus fellowship administered by the Technological Educational Institute of Crete (Prof. Ioannis Vlahos). Thanks are due to Ms. Maria Pikraki and to Mr. Dimitriοs Giakoumakis for their assistance with SSR markers and to Ms. Irene Stratidaki (IMBB-FORTH) for assistance with the LICOR sequencer. Comments of the three anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Aksehirli-Pakyurek
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. C. Koubouris
    • 3
  • P. V. Petrakis
    • 4
  • S. Hepaksoy
    • 5
  • I. T. Metzidakis
    • 3
  • E. Yalcinkaya
    • 6
  • A. G. Doulis
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Agriculture, Department of HorticultureUniversity of SiirtSiirtTurkey
  2. 2.Institute of Olive Tree, Subtropical Plants and Viticulture, Hellenic Agricultural Organization “Demeter” (ex. NAGREF), Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology & Genomic ResourcesHeraklionGreece
  3. 3.Hellenic Agricultural Organization (H.A.O.) “Demeter” (ex. N.AG.RE.F.), Laboratory of Olive CultivationInstitute of Olive Tree, Subtropical Plants and ViticultureChaniaGreece
  4. 4.Hellenic Agricultural Organization “Demeter” (ex. NAGREF), Laboratory of Forest EntomologyInstitute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems and Forest Products TechnologyAthensGreece
  5. 5.Faculty of Agriculture, Department of HorticultureUniversity of EgeIzmirTurkey
  6. 6.Turkish Agriculture Insurance Pool Management Company, Technical DepartmentIstanbulTurkey

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