ISSR variation in olive-tree cultivars from Morocco and other western countries of the Mediterranean basin

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In olive tree (Olea europaea L.), 12 varieties (or cultivars) representing the main domesticated material used in Morocco and 19 olive cultivars used extensively in five countries of the western Mediterranean Basin, were analysed using inter-simple sequences repeat (ISSR) markers which had never been used previously for extensive discrimination of cultivars. Four selected primers produced a total of 26 polymorphic reproducible amplification fragments. Combinations of these ISSR markers allowed to identify 25 of the 31 cultivars. Two additional combinations were distinguished, each corresponding to three Moroccan cultivars or local varieties. Evidence of a multiclonal composition in the widely cultivated variety ‘Picholine marocaine’ was obtained by the identification of three genotypes within the four morphologically distinct clones analysed in the variety. In the UPGMA phenogram based on the proportion of shared ISSR fragments, five groups of cultivars were distinguished at the 40% critical value of similarity. Four of the groups contained varieties from various geographic origins, as the consequence of successive human migrations which favoured olive dispersion throughout the Mediterranean Basin. However, the fifth group gathered together 9 of the 12 Moroccan cultivars and very few cultivated clones from Greece and Spain. The results suggest that most of the Moroccan cultivars are closely related and likely originated from local domestication.

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