Moving towards grapevine genotypes better adapted to abiotic constraints
Keywords:phenotyping, polygenicity, climate change, Vitis, diversity
Vitis spp., both in their cultivated and wild forms, have been growing in a large diversity of environments for thousands of years. As a result, they have developed many adaptive mechanisms controlled by a range of regulatory processes. The cultivated species, Vitis vinifera, is quite well adapted to semi-arid conditions and its cultivation can be used to produce crops on marginal lands. However, this is threatened by climate change, which is associated with increased temperature and CO2 atmospheric content, changes in water availability and an increased likelihood of extreme events, such as heat waves and early spring frosts. Indirect effects of climate change on solar radiation and soil minerals are also expected. Consequently, cultivated grapevines will presumably face more abiotic constraints occurring concomitantly or successively over one or more growing cycles. In addition to climate change, worldwide viticulture must reduce the use of pesticides. Adapting to climate change and reducing pesticide use are challenging, and increase the need to create new grapevine varieties that are more resistant to diseases and better adapted to abiotic constraints. For this purpose, the adaptive mechanisms of wild and cultivated Vitis spp. must be exploited. While major advances have already been made in exploiting wild alleles for disease resistance, the polygenic nature of adaptation to abiotic factors has slowed down research progress. To tackle this limitation, ambitious integrative strategies need to be undertaken from collection and characterization of genetic resources, investigations on genetic architecture and identification of underlying genes (including those involved in epigenetic regulation), to the implementation of new breeding technologies and the development of genomic selection. An update on the state-of-the-art regarding these aspects is presented.
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