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Sahara Olive Tree: Genetic Heritage to Be Preserved
(Olea europaea subsp. laperrinei)
The Saharan cousin of Mediterranean olive trees remains largely unknown. However, this subspecies (called the Laperinne’s olive tree) is of great interest for several reasons. IRD researchers and their partners showed that its longevity is ensured by its original vegetative reproduction. Extremely drought-resistant, this “relict” tree could act as a genetic resource to improve its domestic counterparts, provided conservation actions are implemented to prevent its disappearance.
The most resistant of all olive trees
Contrary to its cultivated counterpart, the Laperrine’s olive tree did not choose the mildness of the Mediterranean climate. It grows in the middle of the Sahara desert at an altitude of between 1400 and 2800m, spanning southern Algeria, Niger and northern Sudan. In order to survive in this inhospitable environment over the past several million years, it had to adapt to…
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