Wild grapevine: silvestris, hybrids or cultivars that escaped from vineyards? Molecular evidence in Sardinia


  • Editor
    S. Graham

F. Grassi, Botanical Garden, Department of Biology, University of Milan, Via Celoria 26, 20133 Milan, Italy.
E-mail: fabrizio.grassi@unimi.it


Vitis vinifera ssp. silvestris, the spontaneous subspecies of V. vinifera L., is believed to be the ancestor of present grapevine cultivars. In this work, polymorphism at 13 SSR loci was investigated to answer the following key question: are wild plants (i) true silvestris, (ii) hybrids between wild and cultivated plants or (iii) or ‘escapes’ from vineyards? In particular, the objective of the present study was to identify truly wild individuals and to search for possible hybridization events. The study was performed in Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, which is characterized by a large and well-described number of both grape cultivars and wild populations. This region was ideal for the study because of its spatial isolation and, consequently, limited contamination from outside material. The results of this study show that domesticated and wild grapevine germplasms are genetically divergent and thus are real silvestris. Pure lineages (both domesticated and wild) show very high average posterior probabilities of assignment to their own clusters, with a low level of introgression.