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1.  A small XY chromosomal region explains sex determination in wild dioecious V. vinifera and the reversal to hermaphroditism in domesticated grapevines 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):229.
In Vitis vinifera L., domestication induced a dramatic change in flower morphology: the wild sylvestris subspecies is dioecious while hermaphroditism is largely predominant in the domesticated subsp. V. v. vinifera. The characterisation of polymorphisms in genes underlying the sex-determining chromosomal region may help clarify the history of domestication in grapevine and the evolution of sex chromosomes in plants. In the genus Vitis, sex determination is putatively controlled by one major locus with three alleles, male M, hermaphrodite H and female F, with an allelic dominance M > H > F. Previous genetic studies located the sex locus on chromosome 2. We used DNA polymorphisms of geographically diverse V. vinifera genotypes to confirm the position of this locus, to characterise the genetic diversity and traces of selection in candidate genes, and to explore the origin of hermaphroditism.
In V. v. sylvestris, a sex-determining region of 154.8 kb, also present in other Vitis species, spans less than 1% of chromosome 2. It displays haplotype diversity, linkage disequilibrium and differentiation that typically correspond to a small XY sex-determining region with XY males and XX females. In male alleles, traces of purifying selection were found for a trehalose phosphatase, an exostosin and a WRKY transcription factor, with strikingly low polymorphism levels between distant geographic regions. Both diversity and network analysis revealed that H alleles are more closely related to M than to F alleles.
Hermaphrodite alleles appear to derive from male alleles of wild grapevines, with successive recombination events allowing import of diversity from the X into the Y chromosomal region and slowing down the expansion of the region into a full heteromorphic chromosome. Our data are consistent with multiple domestication events and show traces of introgression from other Asian Vitis species into the cultivated grapevine gene pool.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0229-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4167142  PMID: 25179565
Dioecy; Domestication; Hermaphroditism; Sex chromosome; Vitis vinifera L
2.  New stable QTLs for berry weight do not colocalize with QTLs for seed traits in cultivated grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:217.
In grapevine, as in other fruit crops, fruit size and seed content are key components of yield and quality; however, very few Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) for berry weight and seed content (number, weight, and dry matter percentage) have been discovered so far. To identify new stable QTLs for marker-assisted selection and candidate gene identification, we performed simultaneous QTL detection in four mapping populations (seeded or seedless) with various genetic backgrounds.
For berry weight, we identified five new QTLs, on linkage groups (LGs) 1, 8, 11, 17 and 18, in addition to the known major QTL on LG 18. The QTL with the largest effect explained up to 31% of total variance and was found in two genetically distant populations on LG 17, where it colocalized with a published putative domestication locus. For seed traits, besides the major QTLs on LG 18 previously reported, we found four new QTLs explaining up to 51% of total variance, on LGs 4, 5, 12 and 14. The previously published QTL for seed number on LG 2 was found related in fact to sex. We found colocalizations between seed and berry weight QTLs only for the major QTL on LG 18 in a seedless background, and on LGs 1 and 13 in a seeded background. Candidate genes belonging to the cell number regulator CNR or cytochrome P450 families were found under the berry weight QTLs on LGs 1, 8, and 17. The involvement of these gene families in fruit weight was first described in tomato using a QTL-cloning approach. Several other interesting candidate genes related to cell wall modifications, water import, auxin and ethylene signalling, transcription control, or organ identity were also found under berry weight QTLs.
We discovered a total of nine new QTLs for berry weight or seed traits in grapevine, thereby increasing more than twofold the number of reliable QTLs for these traits available for marker assisted selection or candidate gene studies. The lack of colocalization between berry and seed QTLs suggests that these traits may be partly dissociated.
PMCID: PMC3878267  PMID: 24350702
Berry weight; Candidate gene; Grapevine; Quantitative trait locus; QTL; Seed number; Seed weight; Vitis vinifera
3.  Genetic structure in cultivated grapevines is linked to geography and human selection 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:25.
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera) is one of the most important and ancient horticultural plants in the world. Domesticated about 8–10,000 years ago in the Eurasian region, grapevine evolved from its wild relative (V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris) into very diverse and heterozygous cultivated forms. In this work we study grapevine genetic structure in a large sample of cultivated varieties, to interpret the wide diversity at morphological and molecular levels and link it to cultivars utilization, putative geographic origin and historical events.
We analyzed the genetic structure of cultivated grapevine using a dataset of 2,096 multi-locus genotypes defined by 20 microsatellite markers. We used the Bayesian approach implemented in the STRUCTURE program and a hierarchical clustering procedure based on Ward’s method to assign individuals to sub-groups. The analysis revealed three main genetic groups defined by human use and geographic origin: a) wine cultivars from western regions, b) wine cultivars from the Balkans and East Europe, and c) a group mainly composed of table grape cultivars from Eastern Mediterranean, Caucasus, Middle and Far East countries. A second structure level revealed two additional groups, a geographic group from the Iberian Peninsula and Maghreb, and a group comprising table grapes of recent origins from Italy and Central Europe. A large number of admixed genotypes were also identified. Structure clusters regrouped together a large proportion of family-related genotypes. In addition, Ward’s method revealed a third level of structure, corresponding either to limited geographic areas, to particular grape use or to family groups created through artificial selection and breeding.
This study provides evidence that the cultivated compartment of Vitis vinifera L. is genetically structured. Genetic relatedness of cultivars has been shaped mostly by human uses, in combination with a geographical effect. The finding of a large portion of admixed genotypes may be the trace of both large human-mediated exchanges between grape-growing regions throughout history and recent breeding.
PMCID: PMC3598926  PMID: 23394135
4.  SNiPlay: a web-based tool for detection, management and analysis of SNPs. Application to grapevine diversity projects 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:134.
High-throughput re-sequencing, new genotyping technologies and the availability of reference genomes allow the extensive characterization of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertion/deletion events (indels) in many plant species. The rapidly increasing amount of re-sequencing and genotyping data generated by large-scale genetic diversity projects requires the development of integrated bioinformatics tools able to efficiently manage, analyze, and combine these genetic data with genome structure and external data.
In this context, we developed SNiPlay, a flexible, user-friendly and integrative web-based tool dedicated to polymorphism discovery and analysis. It integrates:
1) a pipeline, freely accessible through the internet, combining existing softwares with new tools to detect SNPs and to compute different types of statistical indices and graphical layouts for SNP data. From standard sequence alignments, genotyping data or Sanger sequencing traces given as input, SNiPlay detects SNPs and indels events and outputs submission files for the design of Illumina's SNP chips. Subsequently, it sends sequences and genotyping data into a series of modules in charge of various processes: physical mapping to a reference genome, annotation (genomic position, intron/exon location, synonymous/non-synonymous substitutions), SNP frequency determination in user-defined groups, haplotype reconstruction and network, linkage disequilibrium evaluation, and diversity analysis (Pi, Watterson's Theta, Tajima's D).
Furthermore, the pipeline allows the use of external data (such as phenotype, geographic origin, taxa, stratification) to define groups and compare statistical indices.
2) a database storing polymorphisms, genotyping data and grapevine sequences released by public and private projects. It allows the user to retrieve SNPs using various filters (such as genomic position, missing data, polymorphism type, allele frequency), to compare SNP patterns between populations, and to export genotyping data or sequences in various formats.
Our experiments on grapevine genetic projects showed that SNiPlay allows geneticists to rapidly obtain advanced results in several key research areas of plant genetic diversity. Both the management and treatment of large amounts of SNP data are rendered considerably easier for end-users through automation and integration. Current developments are taking into account new advances in high-throughput technologies.
SNiPlay is available at:
PMCID: PMC3102043  PMID: 21545712
5.  Evolution and history of grapevine (Vitis vinifera) under domestication: new morphometric perspectives to understand seed domestication syndrome and reveal origins of ancient European cultivars 
Annals of Botany  2009;105(3):443-455.
Background and Aims
In spite of the abundance of archaeological, bio-archaeological, historical and genetic data, the origins, historical biogeography, identity of ancient grapevine cultivars and mechanisms of domestication are still largely unknown. Here, analysis of variation in seed morphology aims to provide accurate criteria for the discrimination between wild grapes and modern cultivars and to understand changes in functional traits in relation to the domestication process. This approach is also used to quantify the phenotypic diversity in the wild and cultivated compartments and to provide a starting point for comparing well-preserved archaeological material, in order to elucidate the history of grapevine varieties.
Geometrical analysis (elliptic Fourier transform method) was applied to grapevine seed outlines from modern wild individuals, cultivars and well-preserved archaeological material from southern France, dating back to the first to second centuries.
Key Results and Conclusions
Significant relationships between seed shape and taxonomic status, geographical origin (country or region) of accessions and parentage of varieties are highlighted, as previously noted based on genetic approaches. The combination of the analysis of modern reference material and well-preserved archaeological seeds provides original data about the history of ancient cultivated forms, some of them morphologically close to the current ‘Clairette’ and ‘Mondeuse blanche’ cultivars. Archaeobiological records seem to confirm the complexity of human contact, exchanges and migrations which spread grapevine cultivation in Europe and in Mediterranean areas, and argue in favour of the existence of local domestication in the Languedoc (southern France) region during Antiquity.
PMCID: PMC2826248  PMID: 20034966
Domestication syndrome; origin of cultivars; Vitis vinifera; seed; elliptic Fourier transforms
6.  Patterns of sequence polymorphism in the fleshless berry locus in cultivated and wild Vitis vinifera accessions 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:284.
Unlike in tomato, little is known about the genetic and molecular control of fleshy fruit development of perennial fruit trees like grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). Here we present the study of the sequence polymorphism in a 1 Mb grapevine genome region at the top of chromosome 18 carrying the fleshless berry mutation (flb) in order, first to identify SNP markers closely linked to the gene and second to search for possible signatures of domestication.
In total, 62 regions (17 SSR, 3 SNP, 1 CAPS and 41 re-sequenced gene fragments) were scanned for polymorphism along a 3.4 Mb interval (85,127-3,506,060 bp) at the top of the chromosome 18, in both V. vinifera cv. Chardonnay and a genotype carrying the flb mutation, V. vinifera cv. Ugni Blanc mutant. A nearly complete homozygosity in Ugni Blanc (wild and mutant forms) and an expected high level of heterozygosity in Chardonnay were revealed. Experiments using qPCR and BAC FISH confirmed the observed homozygosity. Under the assumption that flb could be one of the genes involved into the domestication syndrome of grapevine, we sequenced 69 gene fragments, spread over the flb region, representing 48,874 bp in a highly diverse set of cultivated and wild V. vinifera genotypes, to identify possible signatures of domestication in the cultivated V. vinifera compartment. We identified eight gene fragments presenting a significant deviation from neutrality of the Tajima's D parameter in the cultivated pool. One of these also showed higher nucleotide diversity in the wild compartments than in the cultivated compartments. In addition, SNPs significantly associated to berry weight variation were identified in the flb region.
We observed the occurrence of a large homozygous region in a non-repetitive region of the grapevine otherwise highly-heterozygous genome and propose a hypothesis for its formation. We demonstrated the feasibility to apply BAC FISH on the very small grapevine chromosomes and provided a specific probe for the identification of chromosome 18 on a cytogenetic map. We evidenced genes showing putative signatures of selection and SNPs significantly associated with berry weight variation in the flb region. In addition, we provided to the community 554 SNPs at the top of chromosome 18 for the development of a genotyping chip for future fine mapping of the flb gene in a F2 population when available.
PMCID: PMC3022909  PMID: 21176183

Results 1-6 (6)