The domestication of the Eurasian grape (Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa) from its wild ancestor (Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris) has long been claimed to have occurred in Transcaucasia where its greatest genetic diversity is found and where very early archaeological evidence, including grape pips and artefacts of a ‘wine culture’, have been excavated. Whether from Transcaucasia or the nearby Taurus or Zagros Mountains, it is hypothesized that this wine culture spread southwards and eventually westwards around the Mediterranean basin, together with the transplantation of cultivated grape cuttings. However, the existence of morphological differentiation between cultivars from eastern and western ends of the modern distribution of the Eurasian grape suggests the existence of different genetic contribution from local sylvestris populations or multilocal selection and domestication of sylvestris genotypes. To tackle this issue, we analysed chlorotype variation and distribution in 1201 samples of sylvestris and sativa genotypes from the whole area of the species’ distribution and studied their genetic relationships. The results suggest the existence of at least two important origins for the cultivated germplasm, one in the Near East and another in the western Mediterranean region, the latter of which gave rise to many of the current Western European cultivars. Indeed, over 70% of the Iberian Peninsula cultivars display chlorotypes that are only compatible with their having derived from western sylvestris populations.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.