, 98:763 | Cite as

Whole genome amplification and microsatellite genotyping of herbarium DNA revealed the identity of an ancient grapevine cultivar

  • Nenad MalenicaEmail author
  • Silvio Šimon
  • Višnja Besendorfer
  • Edi Maletić
  • Jasminka Karoglan Kontić
  • Ivan Pejić
Original Paper


Reconstruction of the grapevine cultivation history has advanced tremendously during the last decade. Identification of grapevine cultivars by using microsatellite DNA markers has mostly become a routine. The parentage of several renowned grapevine cultivars, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, has been elucidated. However, the assembly of a complete grapevine genealogy is not yet possible because missing links might no longer be in cultivation or are even extinct. This problem could be overcome by analyzing ancient DNA from grapevine herbarium specimens and other historical remnants of once cultivated varieties. Here, we present the first successful genotyping of a grapevine herbarium specimen and the identification of the corresponding grapevine cultivar. Using a set of nine grapevine microsatellite markers, in combination with a whole genome amplification procedure, we found the 90-year-old Tribidrag herbarium specimen to display the same microsatellite profile as the popular American cultivar Zinfandel. This work, together with information from several historical documents, provides a new clue of Zinfandel cultivation in Croatia as early as the beginning of fifteenth century, under the native name Tribidrag. Moreover, it emphasizes substantial information potential of existing grapevine and other herbarium collections worldwide.


SSR aDNA Vitis vinifera Tribidrag Zinfandel Herbarium 



This work was funded by the Croatian Ministry of Science under the project number 178-1781844-1925. The herbarium specimens were kindly provided by Mr. Nediljko Ževrnja, head of the Natural History Museum of Split. The archaeological specimen was kindly provided by Irena Radic Rossi, M.Sc., from the Department of Underwater Archaeology, Croatian Restoration Institute. We would like to thank Dr. Ivana Ivančić Baće for valuable comments on the manuscript.

Competing financial interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nenad Malenica
    • 1
    Email author
  • Silvio Šimon
    • 2
  • Višnja Besendorfer
    • 1
  • Edi Maletić
    • 3
  • Jasminka Karoglan Kontić
    • 3
  • Ivan Pejić
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Department of Molecular BiologyUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Breeding, Genetics and BiometricsUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Viticulture and EnologyUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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