While white wine has ancient origins – residue of white wine was found in the tomb of the Egyptian king, Tutankhamun – researchers know that the ancestors of modern grapes were all red.
What they did not know was how the change from red to white berries came about.
CSIRO researchers, working in the Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture, have found the genetic mutations that occurred thousands of years ago to give us white grapes.
“A complete understanding of the two genes that control grape colour will also be useful in a practical sense.”“Researchers in Japan have shown that one particular gene, which controls production of anthocyanin, the red pigment in grape skins, was mutated in white varieties,” says team leader Dr Mandy Walker from CSIRO Plant Industry’s Adelaide laboratory.
“By closely studying part of a red grapevine chromosome carrying the genes for red colour and comparing it to a white variety chromosome, we found a second similar gene involved in the grape colour pathway that was also different in white varieties.
“Our research suggests that extremely rare and independent mutations in two genes produced a single white grapevine that was the parent of almost all of the world’s white grape varieties. If only one gene had been mutated, most grapes would still be red and we would not have the more than 3000 white grape cultivars available today.”
A complete understanding of the two genes that control grape colour will also be useful in a practical sense.
“We have been able to produce a marker that can be used in future vine breeding to predict berry colour in seedlings, without waiting two to three years for them to grow into mature vines and produce fruit. The marker gives us a highly accurate way of selecting for berry colour traits when breeding grapevines,” Dr Walker says.
“The discovery also has great potential for producing interesting and exciting new varieties with novel colours in the future, through genetic modification. One of the areas of future study is to determine if these two genes control the amount of red pigment made, so the colour of grapes can be improved.”
This research was conducted by the CRC for Viticulture and CSIRO and is supported by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.
Tony Steeper | EurekAlert!
Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering