Research / Genetic Diversity / Modern grapevines | Istituto di Genomica Applicata

Modern grapevines

IGA has resequenced the genomes of more than 120 grape varieties, sampled from the whole range of continental distribution of viticulture. Funding was provided by three complementary projects at national, transnational and EU levels. The project Vigneto has funded the resequencing of 51 varieties predominantly cultivated in the Italian peninsula and locally regarded as flagships of local wine districts. The project VISO has funded the resequencing of rare varieties grown in the crossborder area of Italy-Slovenia, a geographical passage that since Roman times has connected viticulture in Western Europe with viticulture in the Danubian basin. This set includes the variety Zametovka, the oldest living specimen of a domesticated grape. The ERC project Novabreed has funded the resequencing of a set of 50 grape varieties that captures phenotypic diversity across the continental range of viticulture, including wine and table grapes from the Atlantic coast to the oasis of Central Asia.

This data revealed insights into the history and genetic ancestry of European wine grapes. We showed that a single domestication event occurred in Western Asia and European wine grapes have originated from the hybridization of western Asian-domesticated table grapes and local wild relatives. By modelling how the ancestry components, including the one provided by interbreeding with European wild relatives, in different regions of Europe related to aspects of the local climate, we propose that introgression from local wild populations contributed traits that enabled the introduced varieties in the Mediterranean coastal areas to adapt to different regions, as they moved northward into cooler climates, and to greatly diversify within and between wine-producing countries.

Magris et al. (2021) The genomes of 204 Vitis vinifera accessions reveal the origin of European wine grapes. Nature Communications 12(1):7240

Funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MIPAAF), EU Cross-border cooperation Italy-Slovenia, European Research Council

Status: Novabreed project, completed; Vigneto project, completed; VISO project, completed