The wild grape genome sequence provides insights into the transition from dioecy to hermaphroditism during grape domestication
Gabriel AB Marais
Posted 08 Jan 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.07.897082 (published DOI: 10.1186/s13059-020-02131-y)
Posted 08 Jan 2020
Grapevine has a major economical and cultural importance since antiquity. A key step in domestication was the transition from separate sexes (dioecy) in wild Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris ( V. sylvestris ) to hermaphroditism in cultivated Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera . While the grapevine sex locus is known to be small, its precise boundaries, gene content and the sex-determining genes are unknown. Here we obtained a high-quality de novo reference genome for V. sylvestris and whole-genome resequencing data of a cross. Studying SNP segregation patterns, gene content and expression in wild and cultivated accessions allowed us to build a model for sex determination in grapevine. In this model, up- and down-regulation of a cytokinin regulator is sufficient to cause female sterility and reversal to hermaphroditism, respectively. This study highlights the importance of neo-functionalization of Y alleles in sex determination and provides a resource for studying genetic diversity in V. sylvestris and the genomic processes of grapevine domestication.
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