Genetic improvement of olive (Olea europaea L.) by conventional and in vitro biotechnology methods.Biotechnol Adv. 2016 Sep-Oct; 34(5):687-696.BA
In olive (Olea europaea L.) traditional methods of genetic improvement have up to now produced limited results. Intensification of olive growing requires appropriate new cultivars for fully mechanized groves, but among the large number of the traditional varieties very few are suitable. High-density and super high-density hedge row orchards require genotypes with reduced size, reduced apical dominance, a semi-erect growth habit, easy to propagate, resistant to abiotic and biotic stresses, with reliably high productivity and quality of both fruits and oil. Innovative strategies supported by molecular and biotechnological techniques are required to speed up novel hybridisation methods. Among traditional approaches the Gene Pool Method seems a reasonable option, but it requires availability of widely diverse germplasm from both cultivated and wild genotypes, supported by a detailed knowledge of their genetic relationships. The practice of "gene therapy" for the most important existing cultivars, combined with conventional methods, could accelerate achievement of the main goals, but efforts to overcome some technical and ideological obstacles are needed. The present review describes the benefits that olive and its products may obtain from genetic improvement using state of the art of conventional and unconventional methods, and includes progress made in the field of in vitro techniques. The uses of both traditional and modern technologies are discussed with recommendations.