The improvement of olive trees
|The olive-tree improvement program, in order to develop new and outstanding olive tree varieties in a relatively short time|
|Dr. Giyora Ben-Ari, the institute of plant sciences, the Volcani Center|
|April 8, 2018|
The research team, headed by Dr. Giyora Ben-Ari is part of the department of fruit trees of the institute of plant sciences at the Volcani Center.
1) Olive-tree oil prices;
2) Harvesting of edible olives, basically a labor-intensive practice.
To attain the above-mentioned goals, an experimental plot, the size of which is 80 dunams, was established on the Center's grounds. In this plot 150 olive cultivars which were collected from different countries around the world, are grown. These cultivars are used as a genetic reservoir, or germplasm, for the improvement program. The progeny of this program, namely, those seedlings which have passed all the selection steps, are then planted at the very same experimental plot.
These are then vegetatively reproduced in three copies, planted in the experimental plot for further five fruit-bearing years and examined for a large variety of traits. The progeny which have successfully passed the above-mentioned steps are then planted in half-commercial plots in three different geographical areas, where they will be further tested for their accordance to the commercial market's demands. These successful cultivars are then registered as commercial varieties and are offered to growers for cultivation under commercial conditions.
The above-mentioned improvement procedure, based on the conventional method can last around thirty years. In order to circumvent this obstacle, a use is made today of genetic markers – e.g., DNA markers – in order to identify the crosses' progeny in advance. In using this method, it will be possible in the future to characterize different traits resulting from the crosses, e.g., resistances to diseases, fruit size, and oil content (%). In addition, it will be made possible to identify the pollinator (the contributor of the pollen, which are the male fertilization organs).
2) Another method used by Dr. Ben-Ari and his team in order to produce new types of olive trees is irradiation of existing seedlings by gama particles. This, in order to produce mutations in these varieties.
The olive-tree improvement program, run in Dr. Giyora Ben-Ari's laboratory at the Volcani Center, which was described in this short article is continuing these days in utilizing both traditional (or, conventional) selection and improvement methods and using advanced, state-of-the art molecular biology methods, in order to develop new and outstanding olive tree varieties in a relatively short time and for the benefit of israel and world olive-tree growers.
For more info, please contact Dr.Ben - Ari at : firstname.lastname@example.org