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FEMS Yeast Res. 2004 May;4(7):711-9.

Inheritable nature of enological quantitative traits is demonstrated by meiotic segregation of industrial wine yeast strains.

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Laboratoire d'OEnologie Générale, Faculté d'OEnologie de Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux, 351 cours de la Libération, 33400 Talence, France.


Wine yeast strains exhibit a wide variability in their technological properties. The large number of allelic variants and the high degree of heterozygosity explain this genetic variability found among the yeast flora. Furthermore, most enological traits are controlled by polygenic systems presenting complex interactions between the alleles. Taking this into account, we hypothesized that the meiotic segregation of such alleles from a given strain might generate a progeny population with very different technological properties. In this work, a population of 50 progeny clones derived from four industrial wine strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was characterized for three major enological traits: ethanol tolerance, volatile-acidity production and hydrogen sulphide production. For this purpose, reliable laboratory fermentation tests were developed in accordance with enological practice. A wide variability in the values of the various parameters was found among spore clones obtained after sporulation. Many clones presenting better aptitudes than the parental strains were obtained. Moreover, analysis of the progeny demonstrated that: (1) traits are in part inheritable; (2) traits are clearly polygenic; (3) broad relations of dominance/recessivity can be established. All these findings constitute an initial step for establishing breeding strategies for wine yeast improvement.

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