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Morphological and molecular characterization of the main olive varieties cultivated in the region of Hbebsa (North West of Tunisia)

Mnasri Rahmani Sameh, Saddoud Debbabi Olfa, Ben Saleh and Ferchichi Ali

National Gene Bank of Tunisia, Street Yesser Arafet, Tunis, Tunisia

National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia,Charles Nicolle Tunis, Mahrajène Tunisia

Institute of Arid Regions of Gabes, Nahal Gabes Tunisia

Key words: Morphology, SSR markers, olive varieties, Hbebsa.


picual_largeA group of seven olive varieties, commonly cultivated in the region of ‘Hbebsa’ localized in the North West of Tunisia were described using both morphological and molecular approaches. The morphological characters of each cultivar were collected according to the International olive council descriptor (1997). Biometric indexes of leaf, fruit, and endocarp were compared to the molecular data obtained on the same set of cultivars using ten SSR markers. We have noted a significant fluctuation of the flush percentage (70.68 to 84.82%), the fruit weight (from 0.58 to 4.48 g) and the endocarp weight (from 0.17 to 0.68g). The morphological study permitted a specific description of the characteristics for the tested varieties and their repartition into three groups according to their fruit and endocarp weight. Whereas, the molecular analyses based on SSR markers didn’t present any clear segregation of the seven olive varieties relative to their fruit weight and their end-use. These result proved the insufficiency of the morphological parameters to discriminate the olive varieties and the importance of the SSR markers for studying variation between olive cultivars and for future breeding and olive germplasm management efforts.

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