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!
Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences