Welcome to VitisGen

Reasons for Grape Cultivar Improvement...

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What is VitisGen?

VitisGen is a large, multi-disciplinary, collaborative project focused on decreasing the time, effort and cost involved in developing the next generation of grapes. Vitisgen incorporates cutting edge genomics technology and socioeconomic research into the traditional grape breeding and evaluation process, which will speed up the ability to identify important genes related consumer-valued traits like disease resistance, low temperature tolerance and enhanced fruit quality. Identifying these genes will help grape breeding programs from around the world to more rapidly develop new grape varieties that will appeal to a wide range of consumers, while also addressing grower and producer needs. Additionally, the scientific resources developed during the project will allow scientists and breeders to address other issues and needs that have regional significance, like salinity or drought tolerance.

Vitisgen represents a new model of scientific collaboration. The integration of the needs of multiple interests—breeders, growers, fruit processors and consumers—into a single outcome will result in novel grape varieties that are beneficial to producers, processors and consumers.

Click here to learn more about the VitisGen project.

News from VitisGen

The Value of Powdery Mildew Resistance in Grapes:
Evidence from California

Members of VitisGen’s Trait Economics Team recently published an article on the value of incorporating resistance to powdery mildew into new grape varieties. Incorporating PM resistance into varieties used for raisin production, for example, could save over $36 million per year in vineyard costs for raisin growers alone. This article was originally published in the May/June 2014 issue of the Agricultural and Resource Economics Update published by UC-Davis.

VitisGen Voice newsletter, Issue 2 now available!

The second issue of the ‘VitisGen Voice’ newsletter focuses on one of the primary traits that we are trying to tackle in VitisGen - powdery mildew resistance. Learn about why incorporating resistance to powdery mildew in new grape varieties can benefit both the industry and consumers, and how VitisGen scientists identify resistant and susceptible vines in the lab. This issue also includes a summary of the VitisGen project's annual meeting held in Geneva NY in February 2014, and short progress reports from each of the VitisGen teams.

New Video: The Search for Powdery Mildew Resistance in Grapes

Learn how university and USDA scientists are using new technologies as part of the VitisGen project to track powdery mildew resistance in grape plants from the field to the laboratory.

Video: How Grape Crosses Are Made (Trailer)

Dr. Bruce Reisch, grape breeder at Cornell University and project director for VitisGen, discusses how breeders make crosses, how they choose what parents to use in those crosses, and how VitisGen will make this process more efficient and help to produce improved grape varieties for juice, wine and the fresh market.

For more details about the breeding process and how VitisGen will improve it, you can watch the full-length video here.

Mapping The Way To The Next Generation Of Grapes

Program has $9 million to develop better grapes

Sarah Thompson, Chronicle Online, October 24, 2012

Updated: 2/13/2014

Funding for VitisGen "Accelerating grape cultivar improvement via phenotyping centers and next generation markers" is provided by a Specialty Crop Research Initiative Competitive Grant, Award No. 2011-51181-30635, of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This site is hosted at Cornell University. Copyright © 2013.