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Plant geneticists find veritas in vino
Date:12/18/2007

which to investigate which genes influence which characteristics of the growing plant and in what ways. It is a treasure trove, says Brian Dilkes of the University of California, DavisGenomeCenter, as detailed a description of a plant genome sequence as I have seen in a first paper.

The genome can also provide clues to the evolution of grapes. Many plant genomes, especially those of crop plants, have been produced by at least one duplication of a smaller ancestral genome. Whether this was true for grapes had been controversial but this study clearly shows that ten of the 19 chromosomes resulted from a duplication that occurred shortly after the lineage of grapes diverged from that of the model plants Arabidopsis and poplar.

The breeding of grape vines is difficult because they take several years to grow to maturity and domesticated grapes tend to have very low fertility. For this reason, grapes are usually propagated by cuttings or graftings so that vineyards are filled with hundreds of thousands of genetically identical clones. This leaves grapes highly susceptible to the emergence of aggressive microrganisms, such as phyloxera, which devastated European grape production in the 19th and early 20th century, and powdery mildew, which continues to threaten American harvests to this day.

The Pinot Noir genome will provide an invaluable tool for creating grape varieties resistant to such diseases without altering the quality of the resulting wine. Velasco and his colleagues have identified a large number of genes related to diseaseresistance, 289 of which contain one or more SNPs. In spite of this, Pinot Noir remains susceptible to several fungi, bacteria and viruses possibly due to a defective system for recognition pathogen. Many of these disease-resistance genes are present in clusters whose associations with resistances or tolerances of different grape varieties to specific diseases can now be investigated. Also Pinot Noir can be crosse
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Contact: Rebecca Walton
rwalton@plos.org
44-122-346-3333
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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