An investigation of the self- and inter-incompatibility of the olive cultivars 'Arbequina' and 'Koroneiki' in the Mediterranean climate of Sicily

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In this investigation, the self-(in)compatibility of the Spanish cultivar Arbequina and the Greek cultivar Koroneiki was studied for the first time in Sicily, where these low vigour cultivars were recently introduced in super-intensive olive groves. Self- (S.P.) and openpollination (O.P.) tests, observation of fruit set and paternity test of seeds with microsatellite (SSR) markers, were performed to ascertain whether these cultivars were self-fertile and/or inter-compatible. For S.P. tests, branches with flowers at the balloon stage were bagged. For the O.P. tests, flowers were left to pollinate under natural conditions. Fruits from S.P. and O.P. were collected in November and fruit set was calculated. Genomic DNA was extracted from seeds. None of the 'Arbequina' seeds studied in either the S.P. or O.P. tests originated from self-fertilization. In addition, none of these seeds had 'Koroneiki' as the pollen parent. In contrast, 'Koroneiki' was found to be predominantly self-compatible in self-bagged branches, with 70% of the seeds originating from selffertilization. However, the incidence of self-fertilization was low (11%) in seeds from the O.P. test. Low levels of inter-compatibility were found between 'Arbequina' and 'Koroneiki', while many local cultivars were found to be good pollinators. The information presented here will be useful to growers for planning their orchards with suitable pollinators and for our breeding program aiming at obtaining new low vigour olive genotypes. In addition, our results suggested that the recent model of attribution of S-alleles and the prediction of suitable pollinizers for a given variety should be more cautious and always based on controlled crosses and paternity testing of seed from those crosses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-93
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Crop Science
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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