Scientists use DNA tech to develop wine

10th June, 2014 by Rupert Millar

Researchers in Australia are studying the genome of different grapes to see how the DNA composition of the vine affects the taste of wine as well as to speed up the clonal selection process.

DNAAccording to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, teams from the West Australian Department of Agriculture and Food and the University of Western Australia, think that the study could lead winemakers to better understand their vineyards as well as improve their ability to make wines with clear regional differences.

Genome sequencing technology has improved rapidly in recent years and the new “next generation” sequencing allows genomes to be mapped in a week and for A$1,000 each.

It took some A$3 billion and 13 years to map the human genome.

Senior research officer at the Department of Agriculture and Food, Glynn Ward, told ABC that the research would be useful in vine selection and creating vine crossings as well.

He said: “If you come across a good grape vine, you can sort of duplicate that if you like by grafting the buds.

“Because of natural variability, you do find that some vines perform better than others.”

By creating new clones for the first time, the industry will finally have “benchmarks” from which to choose from, which, it is said, will speed up clonal selection.

Ward continued: “As we go back into the populations of grape vines and find there are even better vines within the groups, rather than very time consuming process where we need to go in year after year […] having a marker will enable us to speed up that whole process.”

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