Challenges and Opportunities in the Greek-Bulgarian Cross-Border Region Related to Local Biodiversity and Vine Varieties

Challenges and Opportunities in the Greek-Bulgarian Cross-Border Region Related to Local Biodiversity and Vine Varieties
The „SOS for endangered traditional vine varieties“ deals mainly with common challenges and problems in the Greek - Bulgarian Cross-border Region (Fig. 1) related to local biodiversity and vine varieties, especially those in the sites of "Natura 2000". Leading beneficiary is the Executive Agency for Vine and Wine. Its partners are: Association "Prosperity and Development in Bulgaria", Business & Exhibition Researches and Development Institute (IEE)), Greece, and the International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki.

Fig.1 – Cross-border region Greece-Bulgaria

Within the frames of the project "SOS for endangered traditional vine varieties“, various activities were implemented, and the effect of conventional, organic and biodynamic systems for the production of traditional vine varieties was evaluated. Experimental fields were created in the area of the Greek-Bulgarian cross-border region, which showed a different approach to determining the most appropriate system of agriculture at both national and local level (Fig. 2).

Fig.2 – Experimental fields
A unique DNA study of local vine varieties from Bulgaria and Greece was performed. The study achieved its goal of assessing the genetic diversity of eight Greek and nine Bulgarian native vine varieties using seven microsatellite markers.
In Bulgaria, viticulture and wine production date back to ancient Thrace and today commercial varieties consist of old local varieties, widespread European varieties and locally selected varieties.
This activity is necessary as Greece and Bulgaria are neighboring countries and therefore an extensive exchange of germplasm of V. vinifera for breeding has taken place. This has led to the establishment of Greek and Bulgarian local varieties with similar morphological characteristics, called "common".
SSR or STR markers, also known as microsatellites, have been widely used since the early 1990s (Thomas and Scott 1993; Thomas et al., 1994). Nowadays, they are considered one of the best methods for determining the identity of a variety. Due to their high polymorphism, microsatellite markers significantly improve the stability of DNA profiling in the analysis of parental origin (BOWERS et al., 1996; BOWERS et al., 1999; VOUILLAMOZ et al., 2003; LACOMBE et al., 2007; VOUILLAMOZ et al., 2007; LAUCOU et al., 2008; ŠTAJNER et al., 2015; BIAGINI et al., 2016) and in the molecular characteristics of grape varieties (LEFORT and Roubelakis-Angelakis 2002; Martin et al., 2003; THIS et al., 2004; VOUILLAMOZ et al., 2006; ŠTAJNER et al., 2008; LAIADI et al., 2009; POBLETE et al., 2011; Агар et al., 2012; DE LORENZIS et al., 2013; ŽULI MIHALJEVIC et al., 2013; Merkouropoulos et al., 2015; Salimov et al., 2015; Popescu et al., 2017; Dong et al., 2018; JIMÉNEZ-CANTIZANO et al., 2018; Popescu and Crespan 2018; MAHMOOD et al., 2019; TAHERI and DARZI RAMANDI 2020).
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