Canadian researchers aim to unlock grape genetics

  • Monday 30 October 2006

Two Canadian professors are working on a research project designed to unlock the genetic secrets of the grape.

Backed by CAN$6.2m in funding from Genome Canada, and in collaboration with Genome Spain, Steven Lund and Joerg Bohlmann of the University of British Columbia are trying to understand how the grape’s flavour is affected by the interaction between genes and environmental factors such as water and light.

Bohlmann told decanter.com the project is designed to complement traditional knowledge by identifying the genetic traits – such as resistance to stress, and flavour biochemistry – in the grapevine.

This information can then be used to develop diagnostic tools for use in natural breeding programmes.

Bohlmann stressed that the project was not about genetic engineering or modification. ‘We have a high value product in our vineyards. I can’t see any vineyard owner being willing to replace what’s already there with genetically engineered materials.’

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