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Theor Appl Genet. 2005 Oct;111(6):1174-82. Epub 2005 Oct 11.

Paternity analysis using microsatellite markers to identify pollen donors in an olive grove.

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Discipline of Wine and Horticulture, School of Agriculture and Wine, University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, PMB1, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.


Olive (Olea europaea L.) is a wind-pollinated, allogamous species that is generally not considered to be self-compatible. In addition, cross-incompatibilities exist between cultivars that can result in low fruit set if compatible pollinisers are not planted nearby. In this study, microsatellite markers were used to identify 17 genotypes that were potential pollen donors in a commercial olive orchard. DNA typing with the same primers was also applied to 800 olive embryos collected from five cultivars in the grove over 2 years of study. Pollen donors for the cultivars Barnea, Corregiola, Kalamata, Koroneiki, and Mission were estimated by paternity analysis, based on the parental contribution of alleles in the genotypes of the embryos. The exclusion probability for the marker set was 0.998 and paternity was assigned on the basis of the 'most likely method'. Different pollen donors were identified for each of the maternal cultivars indicating that cross-compatibilities and incompatibilities varied between the genotypes studied. Cross-pollination was the principal method of fertilization, as selfing was only observed in two of the embryos studied and both of these were from the cultivar Mission. This is the first report where these techniques have been applied to survey the pollination patterns in an olive grove. The results indicate that careful planning in orchard design is required for efficient pollination between olive cultivars.

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