Epigenetics: an innovative lever for grapevine breeding in times of climate changes
Climate change results in erratic weather conditions, which may lead for many crops including grapevine, to a reduced production and products of lower quality. Concerning grapevine, climate change results in shorter growing seasons and dates for budbreak, flowering and fruit maturity occur earlier in many regions. It also leads to an increase of various pests and diseases, as well as the vectors responsible for disease distribution (Mira de Orduña, 2010).
A major objective of this century’s agriculture is therefore to generate crops able to face the consequences of climate changes. In grapevine, as for other crops, this problem can be tackled through plant classical breeding, which relies on genetic diversity for the development of more resilient crops. However, intense breeding has reduced genetic diversity for many crops therefore limiting the efficiency of classical breeding, and for others with a long reproduction phase, such as grapevine, it is an extremely long process. In this context, epigenetic diversity now emerges as a new source of phenotypic variations. Heritable epigenetic variations, which occur independently of DNA sequence changes, have been associated with modification in gene expression and stably inherited phenotypes (Pikaard and Scheid, 2014), and may provide a new lever for crop improvement by acclimating plants to stresses or by generating epigenetic allelic diversity (epialleles) (Gallusci et al., 2017).
Issue: GiESCO 2023
1UMR Ecophysiologie et Génomique Fonctionnelle de la Vigne, ISVV, University of Bordeaux, INRAE, Bordeaux Science Agro, 210 Chemin de Leyssottes, 33882 Villenave d’Ornon
2South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, Department and Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University
3Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias. Almirante Brown 500, Chacras de Coria, 5507, Mendoza, Argentina