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Mol Ecol. 2013 Jun;22(11):2917-30. doi: 10.1111/mec.12155. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Mixing of vineyard and oak-tree ecotypes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in North American vineyards.

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  • 1Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology Program, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA. kehyma@wustl.edu


Humans have had a significant impact on the distribution and abundance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae through its widespread use in beer, bread and wine production. Yet, similar to other Saccharomyces species, S. cerevisiae has also been isolated from habitats unrelated to fermentations. Strains of S. cerevisiae isolated from grapes, wine must and vineyards worldwide are genetically differentiated from strains isolated from oak-tree bark, exudate and associated soil in North America. However, the causes and consequences of this differentiation have not yet been resolved. Historical differentiation of these two groups may have been influenced by geographic, ecological or human-associated barriers to gene flow. Here, we make use of the relatively recent establishment of vineyards across North America to identify and characterize any active barriers to gene flow between these two groups. We examined S. cerevisiae strains isolated from grapes and oak trees within three North American vineyards and compared them to those isolated from oak trees outside of vineyards. Within vineyards, we found evidence of migration between grapes and oak trees and potential gene flow between the divergent oak-tree and vineyard groups. Yet, we found no vineyard genotypes on oak trees outside of vineyards. In contrast, Saccharomyces paradoxus isolated from the same sources showed population structure characterized by isolation by distance. The apparent absence of ecological or genetic barriers between sympatric vineyard and oak-tree populations of S. cerevisiae implies that vineyards play an important role in the mixing between these two groups.

© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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