MBG faculty member Prof. Doganlar’s research was recently covered by national media outlets (link, link). Project, which is supported by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology within the San-Tez (Industrial Theses) Program, aimed using SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) markers to fingerprint Turkish olive varieties. Researchers expect to identify and authenticate Turkish olive cultivars so that they will be planted and grown in the most suitable conditions.
Olive (Olea europaea L.) is an ancient tree, mainly cultivated in the Mediterranean region. Fruits of the tree are consumed as table olives or used for oil production. Olive tree cultivation is recently spreading outside of the Mediterranean region, parallel to the increased recognition of the oil’s valuable nutritional properties.
While top olive producing countries have already focused on fingerprinting olive varieties of superior agricultural traits and olive quality attributes, Turkish olive trees have not been subjected to such systematic work to fingerprint and authenticate Turkish olive cultivars.
The aim of this work is to develop standardized molecular tests for cultivar fingerprinting of olive trees and authenticity testing of olive oils. In order to reach this aim, SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) markers will be developed for fingerprinting Turkish olive varieties. Because SNPs are the most abundant polymorphisms in the genome and appear at even coding regions with a significant frequency, they enable the detection of genotypic differences within a species, which may not be detected using other DNA marker systems. A DNA-based assay will be developed using the SNPs identified in this work. This assay will be used for cultivar fingerprinting and authentication of monovarietal olive oils.
The SNP markers and DNA-based assays developed in this work will serve multiple purposes. Besides their use in olive tree selection schemes, cultivar certification and germplasm preservation, SNP markers, generated from coding sequences of the olive genome in this work, will have potential uses in identifying the basis of differences in the chemical composition of olive cultivars. The DNA-based assays developed in this work will be of great benefit for the food industry and consumers, as they can be adopted as standardized assays to reliably authenticate the genuineness of monovarietal olive oils and prevent adulteration.