, Volume 124, Issue 4, pp 623-635
Date: 04 Nov 2011

Towards the adaptation of grapevine varieties to climate change: QTLs and candidate genes for developmental stages

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The genetic determinism of developmental stages in grapevine was studied in the progeny of a cross between grapevine cultivars Riesling and Gewurztraminer by combining ecophysiological modelling, genetic analysis and data mining of the grapevine whole genome sequence. The dates of three phenological stages, budbreak, flowering and veraison, were recorded during four successive years for 120 genotypes in the vineyard. The phenotypic data analysed were the duration of three periods expressed in thermal time (degree-days): 15 February to budbreak (Bud), budbreak to flowering (Flo) and flowering to veraison (Ver). Parental and consensus genetic maps were built using 153 microsatellite markers on 188 individuals. Six independent quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were detected for the three phases. They were located on chromosomes 4 and 19 for Bud, chromosomes 7 and 14 for Flo and chromosomes 16 and 18 for Ver. Interactions were detected between loci and also between alleles at the same locus. Using the available grapevine whole-genome sequences, candidate genes underlying the QTLs were identified. VvFT, on chromosome 7, and a CONSTANS-like gene, on chromosome 14, were found to colocalise with the QTLs for flowering time. Genes related to the abscisic acid response and to sugar metabolism were detected within the confidence intervals of QTLs for veraison time. Their possible roles in the developmental process are discussed. These results raise new hypotheses for a better understanding of the physiological processes governing grapevine phenology and provide a framework for breeding new varieties adapted to the future predicted climatic conditions.

Communicated by C. Gebhardt.