The occurrence of somaclonal variation was studied in three olive cultivars (europaea L.) by using Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), C-value and morphological analyses. The tissue culture of the cultivars was performed using internode cuttings. The experiment was carried out up to the fifth and seventh subculture in different cultivars. Significant difference was observed in morphological characters among the regenerated plants of different subcultures in all cultivars. Grouping of the genotypes based on morphological data separated some of the regenerated plants from the others due to their morphological differences, however this was not correlated with the time period of subculturing. RAPD analysis produced polymorphic and specific bands in the genotypes studied. Grouping of the genotypes based on RAPD data revealed that in all cultivars the parental genotype and regenerated plants of the first and second subcultures are placed close to each other while the regenerated plants of the latter subcultures stand far from the other genotypes due to their genetic difference. No significant difference occurred in C-value in mother plants and the regenerated plants, indicating that genetic differences are mainly of nucleotide polymorphism/mutations and not due to quantitative change in DNA amount during tissue culture process.
Key words: Olive, Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD), tissue culture.
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