New genetic tools to identify and protect typical italian products

  • Rosa Rao |
  • Martina Caramante
  • Antonio Blanco
  • Sergio Lanteri
  • Margherita Lucchin
  • Andrea Mazzucato


During last decades the use of local varieties was strongly reduced due to introduction of modern cultivars characterized by higher yield, and breed for different traits of agronomic value. However, these cultivars not always have the quality aspects that was found in old traditional and typical crops also depending from the know-how of traditional cultivation. Nowadays the practise of intensive agriculture select only a small number of species and varieties with a consequent reduction of the diversity in agro-ecosystems and risk of loss of important alleles characterizing genetic materials adapted to specific environments. The creation of quality marks of the European Union proved to be a successful system to protect typical products through the Denomination of Origins (PDO- Protected Denomination of Origin and PGI- Protected Geographical Indication). However, the protection of quality needs efficient instruments to discriminate DOP or IGP varieties in the field and to trace them along the agro-food chain. DNA fingerprinting represents an excellent system to discriminate herbaceous and tree species as well as to quantify the amount of genetic variability present in germplasm collections. The paper describes several examples in which AFLPs, SSRs and minisatellite markers were successfully used to identify tomato, artichoke, grape, apple and walnut varieties proving to be effective in discriminating also closely related genetic material. DNA fingerprinting based on SSR is also a powerful tool to trace and authenticate row plant materials in agro-food chains. The paper describes examples of varieties traceability in the food chains durum wheat, olive, apple and tomato pursued through the identification of SSR allelic profiles obtained from DNA isolated from complex highly processed food, such as bread, olive oil, apple pureè and nectar and peeled tomato.


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Original Articles
agro-food chains, molecular diversity, SSRs, traceability, variety identification.
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How to Cite
Rao, R., Caramante, M., Blanco, A., Lanteri, S., Lucchin, M., & Mazzucato, A. (2009). New genetic tools to identify and protect typical italian products. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 4(3s), 93-100.