Sustainability of agricultural and natural systems

Genetic characterization of germplasm of agricultural species using molecular biology methods


The research activity consists of analysis of the genetic component which characterises the biodiversity of plant species and influences the overall biodiversity of a regional system, by applying the methods of molecular biology.

The data collected are used to plan actions to safeguard and manage agricultural germplasm in the context of local biodiversity.

This type of activity concentrates on the genetic component of biodiversity traditionally planned to support the productive stability of the farms and of the typical features of a region.

The line of research was developed becausePuglia has the biggest numbers of olive trees in Italy, and the longest tradition of olive growing and oil production. There is a rich variety of very old olive trees, meaning that this crop is a very important feature of the landscape. In addition, great interest in the form and beauty of these ancient olive trees has meant that in recent years a lot of very old trees have been uprooted and sold as ornamental plants, with a consequent impoverishment of the region’s overall biodiversity. It has become necessary to investigate the genetic biodiversity of these plants to help conserve their germplasm. This process of protection and enhancement will also be useful for other agricultural species, because it is necessary for the creation of processes of sustainable development of the regions and their specificities. 

Starting: 2.01.2009
Scheduled ending: 30.12.2011
Real ending: 23.09.2019


To understand and to protect the genetic diversity of the typical species and varieties of the region, and also to better implement all the good practices and technologies aimed at improving quality standards, especially by characterizing the region and its plants.

This research aims to expand Puglia’s germplasm data bank of ancient indigenous varieties. A first level investigation was made to study genetic variability and genetic relationships in a sample of very old olive trees generally grown in Pugliacompared with well known cultivars.



The systematic scientific approach will help to perfect an already multi-disciplinary model used to analyse the area, and will provide useful elements for defining production regulations and good agricultural practices for environmental and economic sustainability of these areas.

The results will be a starting point for further research and more detailed analyses; these will make it possible to understand how best to valorize our local genetic resources of immense value, but little known.

The study of indigenous local varieties does not only define and comprehend biodiversity in Puglia, but also helps to enhance the typicality of the local products and to re-introduce the use of varieties suited to the local pedo-climatic and phytopathological conditions at the farm and district levels.



The line of research is aimed at protection of local genetic resources, integrated into the social and economic valorisation of the reference area. The prospects for valorisation and protection are therefore connected to the definition of innovative ideas about organisation and management with the objective of defining ways to regulate and to give new impetus to the area.



  • Strengths

Enhancement of product typicality means an increase in turnover and employment across the entire production network.

  • Weaknesses

This line of research may be weakened by the lack of innovative ideas, and the absence of regulations which might instead give new impetus to the region.

Reference person/s: Simeone Vito /
Collaborators: Cesari Gianluigi / Lamaj Flutura /
Institutions involved:
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