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Home Georgian Technologies Ancestral Wild Populations Will Help in the Selection and Improvement of Grapevine Varieties

Ancestral Wild Populations Will Help in the Selection and Improvement of Grapevine Varieties

Description

The presented scientific investigation had two main goals: characterization of the amount of genetic diversity found in populations of wild grapevine (Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris) in Georgia through analyses of DNA sequence and an assessment of the role of Georgian wild grape in overall grapevine domestication.

This information is of great interest from an ethno-botanical standpoint, but also relates to crop improvement. Identification of ancestral wild populations will help in the selection and improvement of grapevine varieties. During this investigation representatives from Georgia and Europe both Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris and subsp. vinifera and also some samples from genus Vitis American species were analysed by sequencing of three non-coding chloroplast DNA regions (the intergenic spacers psbA-trnH and accD-psaI, the intron rpl16). Genetic variation analysis revealed that investigated grape samples are divided into different haplotypes and each haplotype includes all three Georgian, American and European grapes. Obtained results conformed strong relationships between the genetic variability of analyzed wild and cultivated grapes. Comparative study of European and Georgian grape varieties also revealed the same evolutionary links between these cultivars. In the framework of this project for the collection of Caucasian wild grapes samples several expeditions were carried out in Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. All collected plant material (the frozen leaves, herbarium specimens) and isolated DNA preparations are stored at the Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology.

Innovative Aspect and Main Advantages

The geographic origins of grapevine domestication are not currently known. According to many researchers (Vavilov 1930, Negrul 1946, Zhukovski 1971, Sauer 1993, Jackson 1994, Zohary and Hopf. 2000) the Caucasus and/or adjacent areas (Anatolia, modern day Syria, Lebanon, and Israel) are the areas where grapes were most likely first domesticated. Specific climatic conditions in this area were favorable for the diversification of the wild varieties from which cultivated grapes could be chosen for domestication, and it is here that the natural distribution of V.vinifera most closely approaches the probable origin of Western agriculture (Jackson 1994). Modern DNA analyses provide the opportunity to rigorously investigate this issue. By using DNA sequencing we are searching for shared patterns of DNA sequence variation between wild Georgian grapes and a set of worldwide cultivated grape samples. In this way we are trying to assessment of the role of Georgian wild grape in overall grapevine domestication. That’s why we are also focuses on the formation the library of Caucasian, especially Georgian wild grapes samples. The origin and domestication history of grapes are not only interesting questions relating to cultural history, but the identification of ancestral wild populations will help in the selection and improvement of grapevine varieties. Cultivated varieties of grapes differ greatly in their resistance to pests, diseases and ancestral wild populations are obvious first targets for use in breeding and genetic engineering

Areas of Application

Viticulture; plant breeding.


Fig. 1 Current distribution of Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris
(adapted from Zohary and Hopf, 2000). Isolated occurrences to
the east (Tajikistan, Turkmenistan) do not appear in this map.

Georgian Wild Grape - Vitis sylvestris.
Fig. 2 Georgian Wild Grape - Vitis sylvestris.

Stage of Development

The grape domestication problem is a subject of long-term scientific investigation. The accomplished study is just a modest step towards the study of this problem. Georgian scientists, alongside with American and European colleagues, keep on working on the issue.

Contact Details

Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Contact person: Dr. Ia Pipia
Address: D.Agmasheneblis Kheivani, 10Km, 0159 Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel: (+995 99) 76 9221
E.mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.dibb-georgia.org

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