Carménère Genome Reference
UC Davis Chile, Universidad Andrés Bello (UNAB) and vineyards Concha y Toro and VSPT Wine Group, have worked on the genetic identification project of grape clones of the most relevant varieties for the wine industry in Chile: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The five strains investigated represent approximately 80% of the national wine production and most of the planted hectares.
During the activity called “Deciphering the Chilean Vineyard” last September, the leaders of the project put at the disposal of the scientific community and the national and international wine industry, a web platform with the reference genome of Carménère (all the genomes will be available on this platform).
Dario Cantu, project leader and Associate Professor of Biological Systems of the Department of Viticulture and Enology of UC Davis, California, highlighted that the identification of the genome of these varieties is the first project of this type and size that is made worldwide. that will position Chile as a relevant player in genomic research for a global industry. “We are deeply proud as a team to share this knowledge with the wine community of Chile and the world, and to facilitate access to basic scientific information, highly necessary for innovation in the industry, developing technologies that improve both efficiency and competitiveness throughout the production chain,” he said. The counterpart of the project at local level was in the hands of Dr. Álvaro Castro, of UC Davis Chile and of Dr. Claudio Meneses, by UNAB.
The impact for the industry
“We are proud to be part of the UC Davis Chile Center of Excellence, and in particular of this project that will provide an excellent tool for Chilean viticulture. We are convinced that associative work is the best way to achieve critical mass to carry out quality research,” said Juan Cury, Agricultural and Supply Manager of VSPT Wine Group.
“Having the complete genome of the Carménère cultivar is a milestone that greatly impacts the entire industry." Knowing in detail the code that governs our emblematic stock opens up several opportunities of future work, as many as our ability to innovate allows us to develop, ranging from own and traceable clonal selections, to the development of technological solutions to improve their productivity and quality, strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of our industry,” added Gerard Casaubon, Director of the Center of Research and Innovation (CII) of Viña Concha y Toro.
Public-private association is one of the critical factors in R&D. Relevant research for the development of strategic industries contributes to enhance the capabilities and competitiveness of local companies, and accelerates the transfer of knowledge and good practices between highly specialized and competitive industries, such as the wine industries of California and Chile.
The Vice-Chancellor of Research and Doctorate of UNAB, doctor Ariel Orellana, commented that “for our institution, participating in this project is significant since it demonstrates our leadership in research works that generate knowledge to support the work of innovation in the industry, which allows us to open new development opportunities for the wine industry, articulating science with the market.”
The reference genome of the Carménère is available to the local and international technological scientific community on the following link here.