In order to optimize the management of genetic resources, in most cases a representative sample of the germplasm collections needs to be developed. The establishment of a core collection is thus of major importance either to minimize the cost associated with the management of the associated germplasm or to apply analysis onto representative bases.
In order to select a representative core collection among the Tunisian apricot germplasm of 110 accessions large, the Maximization strategy algorithm was used. This algorithm was shown to be the most convenient when using both morphological traits and molecular markers. Three core collections based on morphological characters, molecular markers or the combined data were compared. Our data indicate that both the molecular and the morphological markers have to be considered to obtain a core collection that represents the global diversity of the 110 accessions. Using this method, a subset of 34 selected accessions was found to represent accurately the 110 accessions present in the whole collection (75 to 100% for the morphological characters and 97% of the molecular markers). These results show that the combination of molecular and morphological markers is an efficient way to characterize the apricot core collection and provides an exhaustive coverage for the analyzed diversity on morphological and genetic bases.