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Variety Identification
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We provide identification of Olea cultivars by DNA fingerprinting of plant
material. DNA fingerprinting is a method used routinely for varietal
identification in several major field and horticultural crops, such as grapes,
olives, walnuts, plums and melons.

What analyses do we provide?

  • Variety Confirmation consists in determining whether a sample's
    fingerprint is  a close match to the fingerprint of the stated or
    suspected cultivar. Allowing for minimal clonal variance, the target
    fingerprint is either matched or mismatched.

  • Variety Determination consists in determining the likely identity of
    an unknown sample. The process identifies the cultivars whose
    known fingerprint most closely match the sample's fingerprint.

How to submit samples for analysis?

    Contact us to coordinate so we can answer your questions,
    anticipate your needs and timing (Please Contact us.)

  1. Collect samples from each  tree you need to identify. (See
    info below)
  2. Label each sample uniquely (Download Labels 2x4)
  3. Fill out submission form(s) listing all samples (Download
    Submission Form )
  4. Ideally, send the samples by overnight delivery.
  5. Be ready to work with us through this process, which
    depending on the number of samples may take anywhere
    from 3 to 8 weeks.
Olive leaves


How should samples be collected?

    Healthy young leaves are usually preferred as samples. Twigs with
    at least six to ten leaves should be collected and placed in labeled
    "zip-lock" bags to simplify handling.

    There should only be the natural moisture of the leaves, without
    dew or water drops on them.

    Sample descriptors typically reflect the specific tree and area where
    they were collected from, in addition to the suspected cultivar, if

What does the identification process entail?

    DNA is extracted from the samples, and then is subject to
    amplification. This is an accelerated, time-compressed multiplication
    of specific regions of the DNA.

    By simultaneously analyzing several DNA regions that differ among
    cultivars, a unique pattern (a "fingerprint") is assembled and then
    used to match against established cultivar fingerprints in a

    The sample's fingerprint pattern is matched to the closest entries in
    the  database. Search for the best match is complemented with
    morphological and agronomic traits of the sampled plant.

What database is used?

    We have compiled an extensive database that includes the
    fingerprints of hundreds of varieties from Italy, Spain, France,
    Middle East, Northern Africa and Greece.  

    Research on variety identification of Olea cultivars has been ongoing
    for many years, primarily to properly identify the genetic material in
    repositories across multiple countries. Our database builds on
    publications from this ongoing research.

Are samples' fingerprints always found in the

    Sometimes, sample fingerprints may not be present in the
    database, possibly for several reasons:

  • The sample submitted may truly be unique to a nursery or an
    area where it has developed. It may have never been
  • The plant sampled may be a result of a genetic mutation that
    is not widely disseminated.

    Note that unique cultivars that have very desirable traits  (superb
    olive oil quality or yield), or important agronomic traits (cold or
    disease resistance) may be candidates for plant registration and
    intellectual property protection. DNA fingerprinting of such
    specimens uniquely identifies them.
Olea leaves sample
Pipetting under protective hood
Gel electrophoresis under UV light
Olea europaea illustration
What is coming up in DNA fingerprinting?

    We are developing detection by DNA fingerprinting, of olive oil
    adulteration with other oils from seeds or nuts.

    For further information, please Contact us.
Olive oil bottle
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Services Summary

Olive Oil Chemical Analysis

Olive Oil Sensory Analysis

For Growers and Mills

Variety Identification

Disease Diagnosis
2692 House Ave
Durham, CA 95938
Phone/Fax 530-924-4789

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