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Historical Genomics of the Mediterranean Olive tree (GENOLIVE)
Start date: 15 Sep 2008, End date: 14 Sep 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The goal of GENOLIVE is to support the career development of an experienced researcher through training and the completion of a research project on the post-glacial history of olive populations. It will contribute to the acquisition of specific scientific competencies (pyrosequencing, coalescent methods) as well as complementary skills (e.g. project management, results dissemination) in a top education organisation. An international network of scientists will also be constituted to achieve the pyrosequencing and tree sampling. The olive is one of the first domesticated trees. Previous genetic studies supported that all cultivars have originated from wild Mediterranean populations (or oleasters). However several questions remain about the oleaster post-glacial history. Particularly, most of the wild trees considered as genuine could be derived from ancient cultivated forms. In GENOLIVE, we propose a population genetic study of the olive tree based on plastid and nuclear genomes. Firstly, we will generate the complete plastid sequence of six distinct haplotypes by pyrosequencing. Detected polymorphisms will be used to characterise a comprehensive sample of Mediterranean trees. Secondly, a sub-sample of oleaster populations will be studied using nuclear gene sequences. Classical phylogeographical analyses as well as coalescent simulations will be used to interpret the genetic diversity patterns. We will test different hypotheses of oleaster recolonisation and will attempt to determine the origins of most oleaster populations (genuine vs. feral). Disentangling the oleaster history is important because it will bring new insights on the cultivated olive origins and may have impacts for the genetic resources management of this important crop. The datasets resulting from this project are also expected to push additional projects (e.g. characterisation of archaeological material)."
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