Grapevine breeding under climate change: Applicability of a molecular marker linked to véraison
Viticulture is of high economic value. Traditional grapevine cultivars (Vitis vinifera L.) are used in adaptation to the climatic conditions from Northern to Southern European growing areas. However, the recent trend of global warming causes quality deficits due to a shift of the plant's development to earlier times in the year. As a consequence, premature ripening happens under warm temperatures and interferes with the balanced accumulation of sugars, acids, aroma profiles and berry coloration. Modern grapevine breeding is challenged to include the ripening behavior as an important trait (besides pathogen resistance and other characteristics) into the development of novel cultivars well suited for sustainable viticulture. Breeders nowadays apply molecular markers to follow the introgression of desired traits on the genetic level. Previous work has identified a molecular tag on grapevine chromosome 16 strongly linked to the time of véraison, the start of the second phase of berry ripening, in a segregating cross population. In this study we analyzed the transferability of this marker to a set of 36 grapevine cultivars commonly used in German viticulture. Association analysis verified the predictive character of the time point of véraison for maturation time and confirmed the diagnostic potential of the véraison-linked marker in this extended set of cultivars.