Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 345–356 | Cite as

Potential of combining morphometry and ancient DNA information to investigate grapevine domestication

  • Roberto BacilieriEmail author
  • Laurent Bouby
  • Isabel Figueiral
  • Caroline Schaal
  • Jean-Frédéric Terral
  • Catherine Breton
  • Sandrine Picq
  • Audrey Weber
  • Angela Schlumbaum
Original Article


The goal of this work was to explore the possibility (1) of carrying out both morphogeometric and archaeological DNA analyses on the same grape pips and (2) of comparing different molecular markers to reveal DNA variation, namely Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs) and Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). We focused on waterlogged seeds originating from three Roman and one medieval archaeological sites in France. Our first results indicate that taking photographs of pips is not detrimental to the preservation of DNA, provided a specific protocol is respected. Regarding the genetic markers, obtaining reliable information in sufficient quantity proved very difficult using SSRs. SNPs have a much more interesting potential, providing greater success rates and reliability. Here in four archaeological pips we studied 842 SNPs, derived from known polymorphisms in several genes, including one gene related to sex. Phylogenies built using these genetic markers indicate that three pips from the Roman site of Gasquinoy are close to modern wild grapevines and/or the female group, while the only medieval pip from Colletière is hermaphrodite and close to the modern cultivated group. Morphogeometrical results are in agreement with these findings. We conclude that the combined use of SNP markers and morphogeometry is promising for deciphering the intricate history of grapevine domestication.


Single nucleotide polymorphism Microsatellite Vitis Gaul Roman period 



The authors thank Sandrine Subitani and Thierry Pastor for their technical support during the processing of the seed samples, and the directors of the archaeological excavations. Financial support has been provided by the programs FRUCTIMEDHIS (Agence Nationale de la Recherche, France; A. Durand, dir.) and VitiPaleoGen (Appel à Projets en Génomique Environnementale, Centre National Recherche Scientifique-Institut Ecologie et Environnement; J.-F. Terral, dir.).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Bacilieri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laurent Bouby
    • 2
  • Isabel Figueiral
    • 2
    • 3
  • Caroline Schaal
    • 4
  • Jean-Frédéric Terral
    • 2
  • Catherine Breton
    • 2
  • Sandrine Picq
    • 5
  • Audrey Weber
    • 1
  • Angela Schlumbaum
    • 6
  1. 1.AGAP UMR1334 (INRA-CIRAD-SupAgro) Amélioration Génétique et Adaptation des Plantes tropicales et méditerranéennes - équipe DAAVMontpellier CedexFrance
  2. 2.ISEM - UMR 5554Université MontpellierMontpellier CedexFrance
  3. 3.Inrap Méditerranée. 3 rue de l’AcropoleVilleneuve-les-BéziersFrance
  4. 4.GéoArchEon SARL, Chrono-Environnement - UMR 6249. La Bouloie, UFR Sciences et TechniquesBesançonFrance
  5. 5.Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry CentreSainte-FoyCanada
  6. 6.Department Environmental Science, Integrative Prehistory and Archaeological ScienceUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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