Thirteen randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers were assayed in 82 Spanish olive cultivars of economical interest. A total of 82 bands were scored giving an average of 6.3 bands per primer. A total of 4 (OPA-01) to 10 bands (OPA-19) was amplified, while the number of polymorphic fragments ranged from 2 (OPK-07) to 9 (OPA-19) with a mean of 5.7 polymorphic bands per primer. A total of 89% of the amplification products (73 bands) were polymorphic. The 13 primers yielded 184 banding patterns (14.9 per primer). The number of banding patterns per primer ranged from 4 (OPK-07) to 39 (OPA-19). Fifty-three unique banding patterns were found, the majority of them resulted from different combinations of polymorphic bands. The combination of only five primers OPA-19, OPF-06, OPX-01, OPX-03, and OPI-12, allowed identification of all the cultivars. Seventy-four cultivars (90%) were identified only by the combination of the first four primers. The addition of the fifth primer (OPI-12) was necessary for the identification of the eight remaining cultivars (10%). The ordination of the primers according to their practical discriminating capacity in this study was: OPA-19 > OPF-06 > OPX-01 > OPX-03 > OPI-12. Hence RAPD markers are recommended for olive fingerprinting in order to generate a database for olive cultivar identification.
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