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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 1;108(9):3530-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1009363108. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Genetic structure and domestication history of the grape.

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  • 1Institute for Genomic Diversity, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Abstract

The grape is one of the earliest domesticated fruit crops and, since antiquity, it has been widely cultivated and prized for its fruit and wine. Here, we characterize genome-wide patterns of genetic variation in over 1,000 samples of the domesticated grape, Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera, and its wild relative, V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris from the US Department of Agriculture grape germplasm collection. We find support for a Near East origin of vinifera and present evidence of introgression from local sylvestris as the grape moved into Europe. High levels of genetic diversity and rapid linkage disequilibrium (LD) decay have been maintained in vinifera, which is consistent with a weak domestication bottleneck followed by thousands of years of widespread vegetative propagation. The considerable genetic diversity within vinifera, however, is contained within a complex network of close pedigree relationships that has been generated by crosses among elite cultivars. We show that first-degree relationships are rare between wine and table grapes and among grapes from geographically distant regions. Our results suggest that although substantial genetic diversity has been maintained in the grape subsequent to domestication, there has been a limited exploration of this diversity. We propose that the adoption of vegetative propagation was a double-edged sword: Although it provided a benefit by ensuring true breeding cultivars, it also discouraged the generation of unique cultivars through crosses. The grape currently faces severe pathogen pressures, and the long-term sustainability of the grape and wine industries will rely on the exploitation of the grape's tremendous natural genetic diversity.

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PMID:
21245334
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3048109
Free PMC Article
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