Pomology observations, morphometric analysis, ultrastructural study and allelic profiles of “olivastra Seggianese” endocarps from ancient olive trees (Olea europaea L.).
Milanesi, C.; Sorbi, A.; Paolucci, E.; Antonucci, F.; Menesatti, P.; Costa, C.; Pallottino, F.; Vignai, R.; Cimato, A.; Ciacci, A.; Cresti, M.
Comptes Rendus Biologies
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Preliminary studies of historical sources and remote sensing were used to identify ancient olive trees near archaeological sites and heritage buildings in the Orcia Valley (Siena, Italy). Distinctive characters were assessed by traditional pomological observation. Trees with similar characters were selected on the basis of the features of endocarps, the only structure that survives aerobic deterioration and conserves useful botanical information for centuries. Non-invasivemorphometric analysis of endocarp size and shape established morphological variations in individuals of different populations. Plastid organization in the endocarp and location of DNA in the endocarp tegument were detected by morphological and ultrastructural observations using light and electron microscopy. Cytoplasmic markers with high polymorphism were used to test similarity of endocarp and leaf DNA within individuals and to confirm low variability and minimal divergence between individuals. The ancient trees studied showed the same allelic profiles and therefore belonged to a distinct cultivar. The traditional pomological descriptions of the trees, leaves and fruits, morphometric analysis of size, and shape elliptic Fourier analysis of endocarp outline, ultrastructural observations and allelic profiles of endocarp tegument delineated the general species-specific qualities of the cultivar ‘‘olivastra Seggianese’’ of the Orcia Valley.