A consortium of Italian institutions has initiated the characterization of the diploid genome of the cultivated olive Olea europaea. IGA has performed whole-genome shotgun Illumina NGS of the historical variety 'Leccino'.
Preliminary investigation into 'Leccino' indicates that that 70% of the olive genome is repetitive, including 39 % transposable elements and 31 % tandem repeats, and highly heterozygous. These biological characteristics challenge whole-genome assembly. IGA is now complementing WGS with sequencing and assembly of BAC pools, in order to assemble separately divergent haplotypes which are unlikely to occur in the same BAC pool.
Resequencing of nine additional varieties is ongoing and will tell us whether the high level of heterozygosity of 'Leccino' is common to other cultivated olive varieties.
Funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MIPAAF)
Status: current project OLEA