`Third Olive Bank in Izmir, Turkey to Help Stem Genetic Erosion - Olive Oil Times

Third Olive Bank in Izmir, Turkey to Help Stem Genetic Erosion

Apr. 6, 2012
Julie Butler

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Olive bank in Marrakesh, Morocco (Photo: IOC)

Further safe­guard­ing olive bio­di­ver­sity by set­ting up the world’s third olive germplasm bank — in Izmir, Turkey — is at the top of the agenda for a meet­ing at the International Olive Council’s Madrid head­quar­ters on April 13.

The cre­ation of a col­lec­tion at suf­fi­cient dis­tance from the exist­ing ones in Marrakesh, Morocco, and Córdoba, Spain, is seen as pru­dent to help ensure plant sur­vival in the event of loss, such as due to nat­ural cat­a­stro­phes and dis­ease.

An IOC spokes­woman told Olive Oil Times the meet­ing would exam­ine the steps nec­es­sary to estab­lish the new col­lec­tion and a pro­to­col cov­er­ing mat­ters such as the dis­patch, receipt and man­age­ment of plant mate­r­ial.

After last year con­sid­er­ing bids from other east­ern Mediterranean coun­tries, the IOC chose Turkey — specif­i­cally the Kamelbecha farm belong­ing to the Bornova Olive Research Station in the Izmir region — for the third col­lec­tion, part of its efforts to address genetic ero­sion” and the grow­ing ten­dency to use an ever shrink­ing num­ber of vari­eties.”


Meanwhile, the meet­ing will also look at mea­sures needed to com­plete the Marrakesh col­lec­tion, which cur­rently has 500 vari­eties yet to gather from the national col­lec­tions included in RESGEN, a project aimed at iden­ti­fy­ing, describ­ing and con­serv­ing olive genetic resources and now cov­er­ing 17 coun­tries. Libya is the only one that has ignored requests to par­tic­i­pate in the project.

Thirdly, and seiz­ing on the pos­si­bil­i­ties pro­vided by the for­mer two items, the meet­ing will con­sider a project that would com­plete the appli­ca­tion of a new DNA iden­ti­fi­ca­tion tech­nique — using microsatel­lite mol­e­c­u­lar mark­ers — to the entire olive col­lec­tion of more than a thou­sand olive vari­eties, accord­ing to the IOC spokes­woman.

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