Seventeen olive (Olea europaea L.) cultivars, including oil and table olive cultivars originating from throughout the Mediterranean area, were screened using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. The results indicate that a high degree of polymorphism is evident in the olive germplasm reexamined. Forty random decamer primers were screened; seventeen of these produced 47 reproducible amplification fragments useful as polymorphic markers. Each of the 17 cultivars can be discriminated with a few primers. Results were analyzed for similarity among the cultivars and a cluster analysis was performed. These analyses revealed two main groups: one comprising primarily small-fruited cultivars grown mainly for oil production, and the other characterized by having large fruit. There was no apparent clustering of olive cultivars according to their geographic origins.
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