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AGRI GEN RES 008: Management and conservation of Grapevine Genetic Resources

Final results

The Grapevine action collected, monitored, characterised, and conserved wild and cultivated Vitis vinifera germplasm across 11 Member States and 6 counties outside the European Union. Around 4,000 accessions have been analysed by using molecular markers. The data were included into the European Vitis database. These activities contributed to ensure the long term protection of grapevine genetic resources in Europe. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] .

Objectives

The objectives of the action are:

  • To contribute to the successful long term preservation of the Vitis genetic resources for the use of the future generations. By ensuring an optimised characterisation of these resources, we will promote their use and ensure the competitiveness and robustness of the production sector;  
  • To monitor cultivated and still existing wild Vitis germplasm in Europe, including Eastern countries;
  • To describe this germplasm, using common morphological, agronomic, sanitary and molecular descriptors and linking them to a unique web-database;  
  • To study on-farm level old endangered and poorly known varieties for their agronomic performances;  
  • To implement true-to-type identification of varieties decreasing the number of errors, homonyms and synonyms affecting the European collections;  
  • To promote an overall optimised conservation scheme for the safe conservation of the Vitis germplasm including Vitis sylvestris presently threatened of extinction, and involving several conservation means (ex-situ collections, cryopreservation and on-farm conservation by farmers and professionals) so that the resources are conserved, accessible and field-tested in a pertinent agricultural context.  
  • To promote an overall optimised conservation scheme for the safe conservation of the Vitis germplasm including Vitis sylvestris presently threatened of extinction, and involving several conservation means (ex-situ collections, cryopreservation and on-farm conservation by farmers and professionals) so that the resources are conserved, accessible and field-tested in a pertinent agricultural context.

Actions and means involved

The project will benefit from the participation of 25 public and semi-public partners. These organisations are responsible for national collections or have a facilitated access to the resources from 17 countries over Europe, in particular Eastern countries (such as Georgia), cradle of the genetic diversity and of the domestication of the species Vitis vinifera. The work will consist of improving the knowledge of the resources, then ensuring their safe preservation.

The proposed activities will follow the indications of former projects [Genres CT96 No 81, European cooperative programme for crop genetic resources networks (ECP/GR) Vitis Working Group, Bioversity (formerly IPGRI) Caucasus and Black Sea Vitis project]. In the scope of the project, new aspects such as the inventory and description of the wild populations and on-farm analysis of poorly-known old autochthonous cultivars will also be implemented. The work will be subdivided in two tasks, each divided into several work packages (WPs):

1. Data and material acquisition

  • WP1 is dedicated to molecular markers data acquisition on European resources; this task will be useful for true-to-type identification, thus solving the problem of misnaming, synonyms and homonyms.  
  • WP 2 aims at recording primary and secondary descriptor data of autochthonous cultivars, as well as their sanitary status.  
  • WP3 targets on-farm evaluation of agronomic features of old rare and neglected autochthonous grape varieties.  
  • WP4 is dedicated to prospecting and studying of Vitis sylvestris germplasm, including their characterisation with molecular markers, and morphological and agronomical descriptors 

2. Management and preservation of genetic resources

  • WP5 aims at assessing the trueness-to-type of the Vitis genetic resources in order to define the extent of diversity in collections
  • WP6 targets the enlargement and improvement of the database, entering coded SSR data, morphological and technological data and adding computer facilities such as automated comparison and retrieval.
  • Finally, WP7 is dedicated to elaboration of a multi-partner long term conservation strategy (integrating several types of conservation, in-situ, ex-situ, and cryopreservation) for the sustainable conservation of European grape genetic resources.

The partners of this action have the resources and means of performing the proposed tasks. Along the duration of the action, three general workshops will help to share information and to steer the action according to the intermediate milestones. More specialised meetings and training within WPs will also be held at intermediate times.

Relevance to the objectives

To remain productive and competitive, modern viticulture in Europe has to tackle three main concerns: innovation, quality and environmental protection. Due to the recent market evolution and trends, grape growers and wine producers need to have access to diversified resources, enabling them to create new varieties, new tastes, new products and brands. Our project aims at the characterisation of grapevine germplasm and will be accomplished in collaboration with wine growers and professional organisations, ensuring to take in account their demands in terms of characterisation and use.

Similarly, to face the world market competition, European growers need also to be able to certify their products in terms of naming, of quality and of genetic and geographic origins. Our projected work on true-to-type identification will allow growers to be sure of the value of their products and will facilitate varietal registration. It will also keep consumers informed about the true origin of the final products.

Furthermore, the demand on organic products is raising in Europe, as well as concerns regarding environmental and health protection; thus, the researchers share the objective of creating more resistant varieties, allowing to decrease the exploitation of natural resources and the use of pesticides. Continued search for more resistant varieties must be based on broad and well known genetic resources.

Finally, the work will consist of creating a permanent network with a critical mass and world influence in the scientific domain of grape genetic resources.

 

Organisations implementing the co-funded action pdf - 36 KB [36 KB]

 

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