Evaluation of breeding potential of wild grape originating from Armenia
Crop wild relatives provide a useful source of genetic variation and represent a large pool of genetic diversity for new allelic variation required in breeding programs. Armenia is an important center of origin both for cultivated Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa and wild Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris. Owing to recent prospection in Armenian woods and river floodplains many forms of wild grapevine were discovered and inventoried, which is an important prerequisite to unlock their breeding potential in the future. The fact that some genotypes of V. sylvestris can withstand the diseases is likely to be due to a more efficient basal immunity. The overall goal of the proposed research was to characterize the diversity of V. sylvestris from Armenia with respect to its capacity for stilbene biosynthesis, which might be exploited as genetic resource for resistance breeding. The realized research stimulates the recovery, characterization and preservation of wild grape germplasm, presently at risk of extinction. The recovery and characterization of wild genotypes will be the base of selection of genetic traits important in breeding programs for the generation of biotic and changing climate tolerant grapevine varieties and rootstocks, both necessary for the future of viticulture in Armenia and in Europe.