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1.  Genetic diversity and population structure assessed by SSR and SNP markers in a large germplasm collection of grape 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:39.
The economic importance of grapevine has driven significant efforts in genomics to accelerate the exploitation of Vitis resources for development of new cultivars. However, although a large number of clonally propagated accessions are maintained in grape germplasm collections worldwide, their use for crop improvement is limited by the scarcity of information on genetic diversity, population structure and proper phenotypic assessment. The identification of representative and manageable subset of accessions would facilitate access to the diversity available in large collections. A genome-wide germplasm characterization using molecular markers can offer reliable tools for adjusting the quality and representativeness of such core samples.
We investigated patterns of molecular diversity at 22 common microsatellite loci and 384 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 2273 accessions of domesticated grapevine V. vinifera ssp. sativa, its wild relative V. vinifera ssp. sylvestris, interspecific hybrid cultivars and rootstocks. Despite the large number of putative duplicates and extensive clonal relationships among the accessions, we observed high level of genetic variation. In the total germplasm collection the average genetic diversity, as quantified by the expected heterozygosity, was higher for SSR loci (0.81) than for SNPs (0.34). The analysis of the genetic structure in the grape germplasm collection revealed several levels of stratification. The primary division was between accessions of V. vinifera and non-vinifera, followed by the distinction between wild and domesticated grapevine. Intra-specific subgroups were detected within cultivated grapevine representing different eco-geographic groups. The comparison of a phenological core collection and genetic core collections showed that the latter retained more genetic diversity, while maintaining a similar phenotypic variability.
The comprehensive molecular characterization of our grape germplasm collection contributes to the knowledge about levels and distribution of genetic diversity in the existing resources of Vitis and provides insights into genetic subdivision within the European germplasm. Genotypic and phenotypic information compared in this study may efficiently guide further exploration of this diversity for facilitating its practical use.
PMCID: PMC3610244  PMID: 23497049
Grapevine; Diversity pattern; Population structure; Phenotypic variation; Core collections; Vitis spp
2.  Pinot blanc and Pinot gris arose as independent somatic mutations of Pinot noir 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(18):6359-6369.
Somatic mutation is a natural mechanism which allows plant growers to develop new cultivars. As a source of variation within a uniform genetic background, it also represents an ideal tool for studying the genetic make-up of important traits and for establishing gene functions. Layer-specific molecular characterization of the Pinot family of grape cultivars was conducted to provide an evolutionary explanation for the somatic mutations that have affected the locus of berry colour. Through the study of the structural dynamics along chromosome 2, a very large deletion present in a single Pinot gris cell layer was identified and characterized. This mutation reveals that Pinot gris and Pinot blanc arose independently from the ancestral Pinot noir, suggesting a novel parallel evolutionary model. This proposed ‘Pinot-model’ represents a breakthrough towards the full understanding of the mechanisms behind the formation of white, grey, red, and pink grape cultivars, and eventually of their specific enological aptitude.
PMCID: PMC3504490  PMID: 23095995
Berry colour; grapevine; layer; molecular characterization; SSRs and SNPs; Vitis vinifera
3.  Resistance to Plasmopara viticola in a grapevine segregating population is associated with stilbenoid accumulation and with specific host transcriptional responses 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:114.
Downy mildew, caused by the oomycete Plasmopara viticola, is a serious disease in Vitis vinifera, the most commonly cultivated grapevine species. Several wild Vitis species have instead been found to be resistant to this pathogen and have been used as a source to introgress resistance into a V. vinifera background. Stilbenoids represent the major phytoalexins in grapevine, and their toxicity is closely related to the specific compound. The aim of this study was to assess the resistance response to P. viticola of the Merzling × Teroldego cross by profiling the stilbenoid content of the leaves of an entire population and the transcriptome of resistant and susceptible individuals following infection.
A three-year analysis of the population's response to artificial inoculation showed that individuals were distributed in nine classes ranging from total resistance to total susceptibility. In addition, quantitative metabolite profiling of stilbenoids in the population, carried out using HPLC-DAD-MS, identified three distinct groups differing according to the concentrations present and the complexity of their profiles. The high producers were characterized by the presence of trans-resveratrol, trans-piceid, trans-pterostilbene and up to thirteen different viniferins, nine of them new in grapevine.
Accumulation of these compounds is consistent with a resistant phenotype and suggests that they may contribute to the resistance response.
A preliminary transcriptional study using cDNA-AFLP selected a set of genes modulated by the oomycete in a resistant genotype. The expression of this set of genes in resistant and susceptible genotypes of the progeny population was then assessed by comparative microarray analysis.
A group of 57 genes was found to be exclusively modulated in the resistant genotype suggesting that they are involved in the grapevine-P. viticola incompatible interaction. Functional annotation of these transcripts revealed that they belong to the categories defense response, photosynthesis, primary and secondary metabolism, signal transduction and transport.
This study reports the results of a combined metabolic and transcriptional profiling of a grapevine population segregating for resistance to P. viticola. Some resistant individuals were identified and further characterized at the molecular level. These results will be valuable to future grapevine breeding programs.
PMCID: PMC3170253  PMID: 21838877
4.  A High Quality Draft Consensus Sequence of the Genome of a Heterozygous Grapevine Variety 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(12):e1326.
Worldwide, grapes and their derived products have a large market. The cultivated grape species Vitis vinifera has potential to become a model for fruit trees genetics. Like many plant species, it is highly heterozygous, which is an additional challenge to modern whole genome shotgun sequencing. In this paper a high quality draft genome sequence of a cultivated clone of V. vinifera Pinot Noir is presented.
Principal Findings
We estimate the genome size of V. vinifera to be 504.6 Mb. Genomic sequences corresponding to 477.1 Mb were assembled in 2,093 metacontigs and 435.1 Mb were anchored to the 19 linkage groups (LGs). The number of predicted genes is 29,585, of which 96.1% were assigned to LGs. This assembly of the grape genome provides candidate genes implicated in traits relevant to grapevine cultivation, such as those influencing wine quality, via secondary metabolites, and those connected with the extreme susceptibility of grape to pathogens. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) distribution was consistent with a diffuse haplotype structure across the genome. Of around 2,000,000 SNPs, 1,751,176 were mapped to chromosomes and one or more of them were identified in 86.7% of anchored genes. The relative age of grape duplicated genes was estimated and this made possible to reveal a relatively recent Vitis-specific large scale duplication event concerning at least 10 chromosomes (duplication not reported before).
Sanger shotgun sequencing and highly efficient sequencing by synthesis (SBS), together with dedicated assembly programs, resolved a complex heterozygous genome. A consensus sequence of the genome and a set of mapped marker loci were generated. Homologous chromosomes of Pinot Noir differ by 11.2% of their DNA (hemizygous DNA plus chromosomal gaps). SNP markers are offered as a tool with the potential of introducing a new era in the molecular breeding of grape.
PMCID: PMC2147077  PMID: 18094749

Results 1-4 (4)