National Research Council of Italy

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IBBR publication #2491

Recovery, assessment, and molecular characterization of minor olive genotypes in Tunisia

Saddoud Debbabi O, Miazzi MM, Elloumi O, Fendri MF, Ben Amar F, Savoia M, Sion S, Souabni H, Mnasri SR, Ben Abdelaali S, Jendoubi F, Mangini G, Famiani F, Taranto F, Montemurro C, Msallem M

Plants 9 (3): 382. (2020)
doi: 10.3390/plants9030382

Olive is one of the oldest cultivated species in the Mediterranean Basin, including Tunisia, where it has a wide diversity, with more than 200 cultivars, of both wild and feral forms. Many minor cultivars are still present in marginal areas of Tunisia, where they are maintained by farmers in small local groves, but they are poorly characterized and evaluated. In order to recover this neglected germplasm, surveys were conducted in different areas, and 31 genotypes were collected, molecularly characterized with 12 nuclear microsatellite (simple sequence repeat (SSR)) markers, and compared with 26 reference cultivars present in the Tunisian National Olive collection. The analysis revealed an overall high genetic diversity of this olive’s germplasm, but also discovered the presence of synonymies and homonymies among the commercialized varieties. The structure analysis showed the presence of different gene pools in the analyzed germplasm. In particular, the marginal germplasm from Ras Jbal and Azmour is characterized by gene pools not present in commercial (Nurseries) varieties, pointing out the very narrow genetic base of the commercialized olive material in Tunisia, and the need to broaden it to avoid the risk of genetic erosion of this species in this country

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