Armenian national grapevine collection: Conservation, characterization and prospects
The general strategy for grapevine genetic resources conservation in Armenia encompasses the collection of the still existing diversity and the use of protection techniques to minimize the losses over time. Being studied mainly by ampelography, the genetic diversity of Armenian grapevine needs to be re-investigated in accordance with modern requirements and international scales. The purpose of the presented research was the first large-scale molecular characterization of Armenian grape varieties by molecular methods using a set of 24 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers encompassing the nine SSR markers recommended by the European project GrapeGen06. The obtained results indicate the uniqueness of the major part of the investigated varieties and reveal a substantial level of genetic variation within the Armenian grapevine. Based on the realized large-scale investigation a true-to-type inventory of Armenian grape germplasm will be realized and documented in theVitis International Variety Catalogue and in the European Vitisdatabase. The next step having strategic importance in terms of conservation of grape genetic resources in Armenia will be establishment of the first ArmenianVitis database with multi-crop passport description of all varieties preserved in grape collection.