Research Article

Exploring olive trees genetic variability in the South East of Tunisia

Published: December 15, 2017
Genet. Mol. Res. 16(4): gmr16039850 DOI: 10.4238/gmr16039850


Tunisia is one of the most important olive growing
countries in the Mediterranean basin and it is classified in fourth rank on
world scale in terms of olive oil production. Since the emergence of the
modern oliviculture, the identification, the evaluation and conservation
of the local genetic resources have been considered as a priority in
countries like Tunisia. Molecular studies for genetic characterization
allowed to enhance knowledge about the autochtonous olive germplasm,
but currently it lacks a systematic and extensive work to compare and
validate Tunisian olive varieties. This work focused on the molecular
characterization and identification of 21 olive accessions grown mainly
in the South East of Tunisia using a set of 16 microsatellite molecular
markers. An extent of authentication process was also carried out by
comparison with molecular profiles from Tunisian cultivars already
characterized from official collections obtained from a set of 12
commonly shared macrosatellite markers by different authors.
Population structure analysis of the Tunisian olive germplasm was also
conducted using structure software. The results highlighted that no
correlation between geographical and genetic origin occurred. New
alleles were individuated, and two new genotypes were characterized
contributing to enhance the Tunisian germplasm biodiversity. This work
allowed individuating a few olive accessions that should be considered
as reference cultivar in the authentication process and contributed to
clarify the genetic pattern of the Tunisian germplasm.