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  • Author or Editor: Z. Satovic x
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Eighty-two Spanish olive cultivars from the World Germplasm Bank of the Centro de Investigación y Formación Agraria (CIFA) Alameda del Obispo in Cordoba (Spain) were analysed by RAPD markers to assess their genetic relatedness and to study patterns of genetic variation. The dendrogram based on unweighted pair group cluster analysis using Jaccard's index included two major groups that consisted mostly of cultivars from the southern and central part of Spain. Clustering together of cultivars from the Levante zone was also observed. The pattern of genetic variation among olive cultivars from three different Spanish zones (Levante, central and Andalusia) was analysed by means of the analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA). Although most of the genetic variability was attributable to differences of cultivars within each zone (95.88%), significant φ-values among zones (φst = 0.041; p < 0.001) suggested the existence of phenotypic differentiation. These results are consistent with the predominantly allogamous nature of Olea europaea L. species. Significant values of φst for the pair Andalusia/Levante indicate the presence of differentiation. The negative value of φst observed in the case of the Andalusia/central pair suggests that some varieties from central Spain are more similar to the Andalusian ones than to the varieties of their own geographic area, and vice versa.

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The aim of this work was to study in depth the resolving power of RAPD markers for rapid and reliable identification of olive cultivars in germplasm collections. The D parameter (the probability that two randomly chosen cultivars have different banding patterns), used for that purpose, showed high values for most of the 21 primers tested and its values ranged from 0.6114 (OPI-13) to 0.9762 (OPK-16) with a mean value of 0.8566. This parameter was used to select the five most discriminating primers: OPK-16, OPA-19, OPX-09, OPF-06 and OPZ-11. The joint confusion probability and the statistical number of indistinguishable pairs of cultivars were estimated for these primers (under independence hypothesis). The combination of three primers (OPK-16, OPA-19 and OPX-09) was found optimal for rapid discrimination of 103 cultivars with a very low value of cumulative confusion probability (1.72 × 10-5), leaving 0.09 pairs of cultivars indistinguishable. This fact, together with the efficiency of the most discriminating primers combination on an increasing number of cultivars, evidenced the utility of RAPD markers for discrimination of olive cultivars in collections and in nurseries.

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