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1.  High Genetic Diversity Detected in Olives beyond the Boundaries of the Mediterranean Sea 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93146.
Background
Olive trees (Olea europaea subsp. europaea var. europaea) naturally grow in areas spanning the Mediterranean basin and towards the East, including the Middle East. In the Iranian plateau, the presence of olives has been documented since very ancient times, though the early history of the crop in this area is shrouded in uncertainty.
Methods
The varieties presently cultivated in Iran and trees of an unknown cultivation status, surviving under extreme climate and soil conditions, were sampled from different provinces and compared with a set of Mediterranean cultivars. All samples were analyzed using SSR and chloroplast markers to establish the relationships between Iranian olives and Mediterranean varieties, to shed light on the origins of Iranian olives and to verify their contribution to the development of the current global olive variation.
Results
Iranian cultivars and ecotypes, when analyzed using SSR markers, clustered separately from Mediterranean cultivars and showed a high number of private alleles, on the contrary, they shared the same single chlorotype with the most widespread varieties cultivated in the Mediterranean.
Conclusion
We hypothesized that Iranian and Mediterranean olive trees may have had a common origin from a unique center in the Near East region, possibly including the western Iranian area. The present pattern of variation may have derived from different environmental conditions, distinct levels and selection criteria, and divergent breeding opportunities found by Mediterranean and Iranian olives.These unexpected findings emphasize the importance of studying the Iranian olive germplasm as a promising but endangered source of variation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093146
PMCID: PMC3977848  PMID: 24709858
2.  Olive phenolic compounds: metabolic and transcriptional profiling during fruit development 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:162.
Background
Olive (Olea europaea L.) fruits contain numerous secondary metabolites, primarily phenolics, terpenes and sterols, some of which are particularly interesting for their nutraceutical properties. This study will attempt to provide further insight into the profile of olive phenolic compounds during fruit development and to identify the major genetic determinants of phenolic metabolism.
Results
The concentration of the major phenolic compounds, such as oleuropein, demethyloleuropein, 3–4 DHPEA-EDA, ligstroside, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, verbascoside and lignans, were measured in the developing fruits of 12 olive cultivars. The content of these compounds varied significantly among the cultivars and decreased during fruit development and maturation, with some compounds showing specificity for certain cultivars. Thirty-five olive transcripts homologous to genes involved in the pathways of the main secondary metabolites were identified from the massive sequencing data of the olive fruit transcriptome or from cDNA-AFLP analysis. Their mRNA levels were determined using RT-qPCR analysis on fruits of high- and low-phenolic varieties (Coratina and Dolce d’Andria, respectively) during three different fruit developmental stages. A strong correlation was observed between phenolic compound concentrations and transcripts putatively involved in their biosynthesis, suggesting a transcriptional regulation of the corresponding pathways. OeDXS, OeGES, OeGE10H and OeADH, encoding putative 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-P synthase, geraniol synthase, geraniol 10-hydroxylase and arogenate dehydrogenase, respectively, were almost exclusively present at 45 days after flowering (DAF), suggesting that these compounds might play a key role in regulating secoiridoid accumulation during fruit development.
Conclusions
Metabolic and transcriptional profiling led to the identification of some major players putatively involved in biosynthesis of secondary compounds in the olive tree. Our data represent the first step towards the functional characterisation of important genes for the determination of olive fruit quality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-162
PMCID: PMC3480905  PMID: 22963618
Olea europaea; Phenolics; Secoiridoids; RT-qPCR; Transcriptome; Secondary metabolism
3.  Identification of new polymorphic regions and differentiation of cultivated olives (Olea europaea L.) through plastome sequence comparison 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:211.
Background
The cultivated olive (Olea europaea L.) is the most agriculturally important species of the Oleaceae family. Although many studies have been performed on plastid polymorphisms to evaluate taxonomy, phylogeny and phylogeography of Olea subspecies, only few polymorphic regions discriminating among the agronomically and economically important olive cultivars have been identified. The objective of this study was to sequence the entire plastome of olive and analyze many potential polymorphic regions to develop new inter-cultivar genetic markers.
Results
The complete plastid genome of the olive cultivar Frantoio was determined by direct sequence analysis using universal and novel PCR primers designed to amplify all overlapping regions. The chloroplast genome of the olive has an organisation and gene order that is conserved among numerous Angiosperm species and do not contain any of the inversions, gene duplications, insertions, inverted repeat expansions and gene/intron losses that have been found in the chloroplast genomes of the genera Jasminum and Menodora, from the same family as Olea.
The annotated sequence was used to evaluate the content of coding genes, the extent, and distribution of repeated and long dispersed sequences and the nucleotide composition pattern. These analyses provided essential information for structural, functional and comparative genomic studies in olive plastids. Furthermore, the alignment of the olive plastome sequence to those of other varieties and species identified 30 new organellar polymorphisms within the cultivated olive.
Conclusions
In addition to identifying mutations that may play a functional role in modifying the metabolism and adaptation of olive cultivars, the new chloroplast markers represent a valuable tool to assess the level of olive intercultivar plastome variation for use in population genetic analysis, phylogenesis, cultivar characterisation and DNA food tracking.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-211
PMCID: PMC2956560  PMID: 20868482

Results 1-3 (3)