The grape genome project
Ablett, EM, Seaton, GG, Scott, KD, Shelton, DA, Lee, LS, Miao, GH, Dolan, M, Hanafey, M, Tingey, SV & Henry, RJ 2001, 'The grape genome project', paper presented to the Plant and Animal Genome IX Conference, San Diego, California, USA, 13-17 January.
In the area of plant genomics, work has concentrated on cereal and Arabidopsis genomics projects, but relatively little attention has been given to woody plant species. The grape genome project is addressing areas such as dormancy and bud burst; fruit quality including sugar content, flavour and colour, and tendril development that have not been covered by other genomics projects, and will have wide applications in many other crop species. By combining large-scale EST analysis, a 16 times BAC library, and functional analysis of grape genes in Arabidpopsis we hope to advance gene discovery in these areas. The project has produced over 45,000 grape (Vitis vinifera) ESTs from a range of tissues and cultivars, with nearly 19,000 distinct ESTs covering an estimated two-thirds of the grape genes. The EST primary BLAST matches for 2,479 ESTs from Chardonnay berry tissue and 2,438 from leaf were classified into 80 functional categories to estimate the abundance of transcripts with predicted cellular roles. A high degree of specialisation was found with 36% of the leaf transcripts involved in photosynthesis, compared to 3% in the berry; and 18% of the berry transcripts in the disease/defence category, compared to 7% in the leaf. The results also suggest that compared to leaf, berry cells are actively engaged in responding to environmental stimuli; with heightened signal transduction activity, proteolysis, and levels of specific proteins in a state of flux. The 'Electronic Northern' analysis of libraries from other tissues is ongoing.