Microvine: A new model to study grapevine growth and developmental patterns

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Microvines were initially proposed as a plant model for genetics. The purpose of this study was to determine the suitability of microvines for characterising grapevine vegetative and reproductive growth and development patterns in response to elevated temperatures.

What is a microvine?
A microvine is a natural mutant of Vitis vinifera. Its dwarf stature allows experiments to be performed under fully controlled environments in small growth chambers. Another unique feature is that it has a short generation cycle and flowers continuously, giving it advantages similar to that of an annual plant. Studies can be conducted much quicker since experiments are not limited to the perennial growth cycle.

Project layout
- A series of experiments was performed in a greenhouse and in growth chambers under either standard or contrasting conditions for several weeks
- Plant development was monitored and a number of physiological measurements were taken
- Biochemical analysis were completed for various organs

Results
- Microvines exhibited continuous and stable leaf, flower and fruit development as well as the ability to be grown in a controlled environment
- With regard to vegetative and reproductive timing, microvines showed similar behaviour compared to grapevine cultivars
- Overall responses to elevated temperatures were consistent with previous findings from experiments done on grapevines

Significance of the study
It is believed that elevated temperatures will trigger several responses in plants. However, the mechanisms underlying yield and quality responses to elevated temperatures remain unknown at the plant level. Microvines provide a good model for studying the effects of temperature elevation as well as other stresses associated with climate change (e.g. CO2 and water deficit), on grapevines. This can guide breeding programs to develop stress-adapted grapevine varieties.

Reference
Microvine: A New Model to Study Grapevine Growth and Developmental Patterns and their Responses to Elevated Temperature
Nathalie Luchaire, Markus Rienth, Charles Romieu, Ajit Nehe, Ratthaphon Chatbanyong, Cléa Houel, Agnès Ageorges, Yves Gibon, Olivier Turc, Bertrand Muller, Laurent Torregrosa, Anne Pellegrino
Am J Enol Vitic. July 2017 68: 283-292

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