In Vino (Genome) Veritas


A group of researchers from France and Italy have sequenced the genome of the finest grape varietal, Pinot Noir. The genome has hallmarks of ancient triploidization, shared by other dicotyledons, but there is no evidence for recent polyploidization. That meant sequencing and assembling this genome is easier than doing so for other agricultural plants that experienced genome doubling (and tripling) as a result of domestication.

Comparisons of gene content with Arabidopsis thaliana reveals an enrichment of various gene families responsible for protein products that produce favorable features in the wines produce from these grapes. For example, there are twice as many terpene synthases (which are responsible for the synthesis of important aromatics) in grapevine as in Arabidopsis.

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

We are currently at the rise of alcohol related genomics — see this comparative analysis of various brewing yeasts as another example. What alcohol related project would you like to see done next? My nomination: metagenomics of noble rot.

More information on the grapevine project can be found at Nature News and Nobel Intent

French-Italian Public Consortium for Grapevine Genome Characterization. 2007. The grapevine genome sequence suggests ancestral hexaploidization in major angiosperm phyla. Nature In press doi:10.1038/nature06148