DNA study of local vine varieties from Bulgaria and Greece

A unique DNA study of local local grapevine varieties from Bulgaria and Greece was performed as part of the "SOS project for endangered traditional vine varieties".
The aim of this study was to estimate the genetic diversity of eight Greek and nine Bulgarian local grapevine varieties with the use of seven microsatellite markers. Statistical analysis of data showed that there is high degree of genetic heterogeneity among most of the varieties studied, as well as a close genetic relationship in three variety pairs. Based on our results, we suggest the synonymy of Greek Pamid & Bulgarian Pamid and Greek Zoumiatiko & Bulgarian Dimyat. On the other hand, Greek Keratsuda and Bulgarian Keratsuda varieties should be characterized as homonyms. Additional molecular work is needed for a thorough analysis of Greek and Bulgarian grapevine genepool.


The aim of this study was to analyze the genetic diversity and differentiation of various local Greek and Bulgarian grapevine varieties, using microsatellite genetic markers. Besides that, our goal was also to clarify the putative relationship of varieties coming from the above two countries and characterized as common In Greece, grapevine is cultivated since antiquity (BANILAS et al., 2009; VALAMOTI 2011) and ampelographic collection accounts for 663 single cultivars, 300 of which are still cultivated for wine, table grapes and raisins (KOTINIS 1985).

Grapevine cultivation and winemaking in Bulgaria dates back to the times of ancient Thrace and, nowadays, the commercial varieties consist of old native varieties, widespread European cultivars and locally selected cultivars (HVARLEVA et al., 2004). Despite the great number of varieties available around the world, the global wine market is prevailed by few such as Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, which has led to a significant decrease of genetic variability in source of cultivars (THIS et al., 2006).


SSR or STR markers, also known as microsatellites, have been widely used since the early 90s (THOMAS and SCOTT 1993; THOMAS et al., 1994) and, nowadays, are considered to be one of the best methods for determining cultivar identity. Due to their high polymorphism, microsatellite markers have significantly improved the robustness of DNA profiling in parentage analysis (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 molecular characterization of grape cultivars (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; AGAR 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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