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1.  Genome size variation in wild and cultivated maize along altitudinal gradients 
The New phytologist  2013;199(1):264-276.
• It is still an open question as to whether genome size (GS) variation is shaped by natural selection. One approach to address this question is a population-level survey that assesses both the variation in GS and the relationship of GS to ecological variants.
• We assessed GS in Zea mays, a species that includes the cultivated crop, maize, and its closest wild relatives, the teosintes. We measured GS in five plants of each of 22 maize landraces and 21 teosinte populations from Mexico sampled from parallel altitudinal gradients.
• GS was significantly smaller in landraces than in teosintes, but the largest component of GS variation was among landraces and among populations. In maize, GS correlated negatively with altitude; more generally, the best GS predictors were linked to geography. By contrast, GS variation in teosintes was best explained by temperature and precipitation.
• Overall, our results further document the size flexibility of the Zea genome, but also point to a drastic shift in patterns of GS variation since domestication. We argue that such patterns may reflect the indirect action of selection on GS, through a multiplicity of phenotypes and life-history traits.
PMCID: PMC4119021  PMID: 23550586
altitudinal gradient; climatic variables; DNA content; genome size; natural selection; Zea mays
2.  Centennial olive trees as a reservoir of genetic diversity 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(5):797-807.
Background and Aims
Genetic characterization and phylogenetic analysis of the oldest trees could be a powerful tool both for germplasm collection and for understanding the earliest origins of clonally propagated fruit crops. The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is a suitable model to study the origin of cultivars due to its long lifespan, resulting in the existence of both centennial and millennial trees across the Mediterranean Basin.
The genetic identity and diversity as well as the phylogenetic relationships among the oldest wild and cultivated olives of southern Spain were evaluated by analysing simple sequence repeat markers. Samples from both the canopy and the roots of each tree were analysed to distinguish which trees were self-rooted and which were grafted. The ancient olives were also put into chronological order to infer the antiquity of traditional olive cultivars.
Key Results
Only 9·6 % out of 104 a priori cultivated ancient genotypes matched current olive cultivars. The percentage of unidentified genotypes was higher among the oldest olives, which could be because they belong to ancient unknown cultivars or because of possible intra-cultivar variability. Comparing the observed patterns of genetic variation made it possible to distinguish which trees were grafted onto putative wild olives.
This study of ancient olives has been fruitful both for germplasm collection and for enlarging our knowledge about olive domestication. The findings suggest that grafting pre-existing wild olives with olive cultivars was linked to the beginnings of olive growing. Additionally, the low number of genotypes identified in current cultivars points out that the ancient olives from southern Spain constitute a priceless reservoir of genetic diversity.
PMCID: PMC3177672  PMID: 21852276
Olea europaea; wild olives; traditional cultivars; microsatellite markers; intracultivar variability; domestication; in situ conservation

Results 1-2 (2)