Project Summary

"VitisGen" was funded in 2011 by the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative competitive grant program. Grape industry surveys and scientist-stakeholder workshops repeatedly identify three traits of high importance to U.S. grape growers for cultivar improvement: powdery mildew resistance, cold tolerance, and fruit quality. This long term project will accelerate grape cultivar improvement by providing cutting-edge molecular marker technologies, rigorous centralized facilities to characterize traits, and molecular breeding expertise. To further facilitate industry- and consumer-driven development and adoption of improved cultivars, quantitative economic analyses will be conducted to evaluate the benefits for consumers, producers, and the economy as a whole from enhanced traits in new cultivars. This will inform breeding strategies to increase consumption of novel, desirable grape products - impacting nine stakeholder high-priorities in four SCRI focus areas. Outreach activities will focus on communication of results of consumer surveys as well as economic analyses of varieties with enhanced traits, and will be carried out with the ongoing national Grape Community of Practice project. Outreach will also work toward the development of a common vocabulary between the grape industry and scientists regarding the processes and applications of genomic technologies. The molecular breeding efforts will have two components: marker development and marker application. Marker development across 18 diverse breeding populations (with outreach to other specialty crops) will use the latest DNA sequencing technology to generate 50,000 DNA markers per plant - resulting in dozens of markers per trait-associated locus for mapping and marker-assisted breeding. In addition to traits scored at centrally developed project locations, breeders will use standardized practices to score additional traits locally, which will also be mapped to their chromosomal locations. Finally, existing markers will be applied across thousands of breeding lines, resulting in rapid impact. For example, existing markers for seedlessness and powdery mildew resistance can be screened following embryo rescue, and seeded, susceptible plantlets discarded years earlier than normal, resulting in planting of more seedlings with desired phenotypes, additional improved traits, improved resistance durability, and improved efficiency, all focused on industry and consumer priorities

The following research institutions are participants
in the VitisGen project:

The following organizations have provided in-kind support for the VitisGen project:

The VitisGen project also received non-federal matching funds from:

Funding for VitisGen "Accelerating grape cultivar improvement via phenotyping centers and next generation markers" is provided by a Specialty Crop Research Initiative Competitive Grant, Award No. 2011-51181-30635, of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This site is hosted at Cornell University. Copyright © 2015.