Palaeogenomic insights into the origins of French grapevine diversity

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

The Eurasian grapevine (Vitis vinifera) has long been important for wine production as well as being a food source. Despite being clonally propagated, modern cultivars exhibit great morphological and genetic diversity, with thousands of varieties described in historic and contemporaneous records. Through historical accounts, some varieties can be traced to the Middle Ages, but the genetic relationships between ancient and modern vines remain unknown. We present target-enriched genome-wide sequencing data from 28 archaeological grape seeds dating to the Iron Age, Roman era and medieval period. When compared with domesticated and wild accessions, we found that the archaeological samples were closely related to western European cultivars used for winemaking today. We identified seeds with identical genetic signatures present at different Roman sites, as well as seeds sharing parent-offspring relationships with varieties grown today. Furthermore, we discovered that one seed dated to ~1100 CE was a genetic match to 'Savagnin Blanc', providing evidence for 900 years of uninterrupted vegetative propagation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Plants
Volume5
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)595-603
Number of pages9
ISSN2055-026X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 225937471