In Italy the number of olive cultivars is extremely high, and together with the best known and widespread ones, in the collections numerous minor local cultivars and ecotypes exist which have not been sufficiently characterized. In Emilia Romagna this aspect is less evident, but nevertheless a great numberof old olive trees and bushed is present on the northern slopes of the Apennins, to witness an olive cultivation which has always been present since the times of the Roman Empire. Many of these genotypes have been collected and characterized as not belonging to cultivars presently known, but which might have been cultivated in distant times. This kind of olive genetic diversity was studied using SSR technique, on plants growing in the Bologna area (IT). For genotype identification comparisons were made with a number of important cultivars of Central Italy. Screening was obtained by analysing patterns produced by 17 SSR primers. A dendrogram obtained from the analysis reveals the presence of an interesting amount of genetic diversity among the studied individuals.
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