Original olive genotypes found in Uruguay identified by morphological and molecular markers

J. Pereira, J. Bernal, L. Martinelli, J.J. Villamil, P. Conde
Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, founded by Spaniards in the 18th century, and Colonia del Sacramento, established by the Portuguese in the 17th century, are sources of olive diversity. A study and analysis of this unexplored heritage was initiated 10 years ago, using morphological and molecular tools. After a primary geographical and historical survey, 360 Olea europaea fruit and leaf samples were collected. After morphological analysis of 11 stone characters, the samples could not be matched with any cultivars in databases from Mediterranean countries. When a set of 14 pairs of microsatellite primers was applied, nine different multilocus genotypes were detected that were not recorded in the databases. In agreement with the colonization process and olive tree introduction routes into South America, two groups of genotypes were distinguished: a) seven “genetic mosaic” genotypes related to genotypes from Spain and Portugal, introduced to Uruguay in areas under Spanish control, and b) two genotypes with one of two alleles in less than 70% with molecular variants found in Hispanic and Portuguese cultivars. Because of their height and trunk size, these trees were assumed to be older. Based on this information, we conclude that Uruguay has preserved a unique and original gene pool, currently productive and adapted to local soil and climatic conditions. This pool is a heritage of global interest, suitable for commercial and cultural purposes.
Pereira, J., Bernal, J., Martinelli, L., Villamil, J.J. and Conde, P. (2018). Original olive genotypes found in Uruguay identified by morphological and molecular markers. Acta Hortic. 1199, 7-14
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1199.2
Uruguay, ancient olive trees, molecular, morphological markers, evolution

Acta Horticulturae