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Plant Cell. 2013 Dec;25(12):4777-88. doi: 10.1105/tpc.113.118810. Epub 2013 Dec 6.

The high polyphenol content of grapevine cultivar tannat berries is conferred primarily by genes that are not shared with the reference genome.

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Departamento de Biología Molecular, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable, 11600 Montevideo, Uruguay.

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The grapevine (Vitis vinifera) cultivar Tannat is cultivated mainly in Uruguay for the production of high-quality red wines. Tannat berries have unusually high levels of polyphenolic compounds, producing wines with an intense purple color and remarkable antioxidant properties. We investigated the genetic basis of these important characteristics by sequencing the genome of the Uruguayan Tannat clone UY11 using Illumina technology, followed by a mixture of de novo assembly and iterative mapping onto the PN40024 reference genome. RNA sequencing data for genome reannotation were processed using a combination of reference-guided annotation and de novo transcript assembly, allowing 5901 previously unannotated or unassembled genes to be defined and resulting in the discovery of 1873 genes that were not shared with PN40024. Expression analysis showed that these cultivar-specific genes contributed substantially (up to 81.24%) to the overall expression of enzymes involved in the synthesis of phenolic and polyphenolic compounds that contribute to the unique characteristics of the Tannat berries. The characterization of the Tannat genome therefore indicated that the grapevine reference genome lacks many genes that appear to be relevant for the varietal phenotype.

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