COST Action FA1003
GRAPENET / Working Group 1: Identification and characterization of genetic resources
Coordinator: Dr. Reinhard TÖPFER

As a result of the previous international conservation and documentation efforts, facilitated by ECPGR/Bioversity, more than 2600 accessions of 1283 autochthonous varieties from the Caucasus have been registered in ten east European grapevine collections located in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation and Ukraine. It is estimated that nearly 100% of the autochthonous varieties exist in the east European countries; only: 75% of them (= 952 varieties) were found solely in these ten collectionsł the remaining 25% are mainly distributed in grapevine collections of other east European countries. Out of the total number of the autochthonous varieties, about 740 varieties exist in one place only and are therefore considered to be threatened. Existing data from inventory and safeguard efforts on Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris individuals, mainly in populations existing in the wild or eventually in collections, will also be analyzed. Collection and preservation of Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris cuttings and seeds is essential to cover the still existing full range of the original genetic variation of grapevine.
Synonymy, homonymy and misnaming of varieties are the major obstacles to be overcome in the beginning of the project. In addition, the different languages used in the east European countries produce different spellings of the same variety name, which may have caused double registering. The ascertainment of trueness-to-type is thus an important issue to deal with, again based on the results of previous collaborative efforts and projects. Any additional multi-crop passport descriptor data of the accessions held in the grapevine collections in the east European countries will be registered in the European Vitis database, as well as ampelographic descriptor data and microsatellite (SSR) marker data.
Every year, a sample of 100-200 putatively most interesting and poorly known varieties will be analyzed by ampelographic methods and at molecular markers. The DNA will be provided mainly by the research partners in the east European countries, and the analyses will be carried out both in their own labs (whenever possible), or in west European labs, which typically conduct these analyses as routine.
The combination of ampelographic and molecular data will enable the identification of the poorly characterized but genetically rich grapevine resources particularly from the Caucasus region.
Ampelographic data will be recorded on the basis of the "OIV descriptor list for grapevine varieties and Vitis species". The nine SSR-markers adopted by the European Union Project GrapeGen06 will be used for identification purposes, while for parentage analysis, twenty routine molecular markers (SSR), already routinely studied in several labs, will be used for parentage analysis.