The olive, Olea europaea (Oleaceae), is an iconic species in Mediterranean agriculture yet its origin is complex. Besnard et al. review the literature on the timeline of Mediterranean olive evolution and discuss the questions that remain unanswered. They also propose new avenues of multidisciplinary approaches to investigate the ecological genomics of olive domestication.
These findings offer a roadmap which may help to unravel the puzzle of olive domestication and more generally the evolutionary processes involved in phenotypic and molecular evolution, and adaptation of perennial crops, thereby contributing to the sustainable management of olive germplasm and agrosystems, particularly in the current context of global change.