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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Complete Comprehensive Genetic Analysis of Domesticated Grape

January 21, 2011

Scientists at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service have accomplished the most comprehensive genetic analysis of domesticated grapes. Their main objectives were to analyze the degree of genetic diversity of grapes and find out possible markers to pest and pathogen resistance.

Results showed that grapes rarely experienced crossbreeding and this made it as a natural target for pests and pathogens. Thousands of dollars are spent annually by growers for spraying fungicides against powdery and downy mildews. This genetic diversity exhibited by grapes is at the same time an advantage in terms of developing desirable traits for growers.

"Grapes are one of the world's most economically important fruit crops, and this study shows not only the potential for developing new approaches for improving existing varieties, but also the genetic relationships between many common varieties," said Edward B. Knipling, ARS administrator.