Plastid DNA sequence diversity in wild grapevine samples (<i>Vitis vinifera</i> subsp. <i>sylvestris</i>) from the Caucasus region


  • I. Pipia
  • M. Gagniashvili
  • V. Tabidze
  • T. Beridze
  • M. Gamlrelidze
  • V. Gotsiridze
  • G. Melyan
  • M. Musayev
  • V. Salimov
  • J. Beck
  • B. Schaal



grape DNA, Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris, trnH-psbA intergenic spacer, accD-psaI intergenic spacer, rpl16 intron, DNA sequencing


DNA sequence diversity was investigated in three plastid regions (the trnH-psbA intergenic spacer, accDpsaI intergenic spacer and the rpl16 intron) in a group of 40 wild grape (Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris) samples from the South Caucasus. This group included 22 samples from Georgia, 9 samples from Azerbaijan, 2 samples from Armenia and 7 samples from Turkey. The South Caucasus region is widely believed to be the area in which grape domestication began, and the study of genetic diversity in this region is viewed as key to understanding grape domestication in general. Four plastid haplotypes are evident in the 40 samples, and are designated by their character states at each of the 4 polymorphic positions: AAAT – 22 samples, ATTT – 6 samples, GTAC – 1 sample, and ATAT – 11 samples. The AAAT haplotype is restricted to Georgia and Azerbaijan, the ATAT haplotype is distributed across the entire study area, the ATTT haplotype is distributed in the southern part of the study area from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. The single GTAC haplotype was only found in southwestern Georgia. The AAAT haplotype is restricted to both wild (V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris) and cultivated (V. vinifera subsp. vinifera) grape samples from the Caucasus. This observation and the presence of all other plastid haplotypes observed in a previous study of worldwide grape cultivars highlight both unique and high levels of genetic variation in wild grape (V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris) from the greater Caucasus region.