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Grapevine germplasm variety identification



The project will validate the name and DNA profile of the grapevine varieties in Australia’s two largest germplasm collections, held by CSIRO and SARDI. These collections hold up to 80% of the unique material in Australia. Using international references, the project will develop a database containing the validated varieties, which can be used by an Australian service provider to offer a grapevine DNA identification service to industry. 

The information generated through the project will be subsequently used, along with privately held material as its made available, to build a publicly accessible Australian Grapevine Register of varieties and clones, representing a (virtual) national germplasm collection, with DNA-verified source block plantings located across the country.   



This project builds on recommendations from Wine Australia project CSP 1102 Grapevine type reference pilot study that grapevine germplasm collections in Australia should be DNA profiled to validate the identity of the varieties held in the collections. 

DNA profiling of the major Australian collections is an important step towards reopening the collections for the benefit of the wine sector, including vine improvement initiatives (rootstocks and scions), biosecurity, genetic diversity and adaptation to climate change. This project offers a DNA based method for variety identification that will minimise the chance of accidental mislabelling. An important component of the scheme is DNA profiles that accurately identify grapevine varieties and application of this to trace a variety from vine importation to nursery to vineyard to the winery for label integrity. 


Research approach

The plan involves the engagement of several international collaborators in France, Germany and Italy. DNA will be extracted from grapevine tissue samples taken in Australia, from a unique variety set and non-unique accessions within the CSIRO and SARDI collections. DNA profiling will utilise the SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) marker method developed by CSIRO and described in an earlier project (CSP 1102). 

Plant DNA and DNA profiles will be exchanged with international collaborators, and will use SNP and SSR (Simple Sequence Repeat) marker methods, as necessary, to compare the DNA profiles.

A database will be developed that contains the final SNP DNA profiles with the corresponding variety name. The variety name will conform to the Prime Name listed in the Vitis International Variety Catalogue. In addition, the original Australian name will also be listed. The database and interface will be set up so that it can be queried with other DNA profiles so that a service provider can offer an ongoing (commercial) identification service to the sector.

Sector benefits

This project will provide a platform for industry to access an Australian-based DNA fingerprinting service based on the more modern SNP DNA marker method.

The database produced at the end of the project will become a significant component of a national grapevine register of varieties and clones that can confidently be made accessible to industry and will provide an important resource for ongoing plant breeding and vine improvement initiatives.