Genetic crop improvement by means of second-generation biotechnologies represents a powerful tool to face challenges such as plant adaptation to climate change or reduction of pesticide use in agriculture. These new technologies can allow the development of novel genotypes through the introduction of genome modifications characterized by great precision and efficiency, particularly useful in those varieties and clones of high economic interest used in viticulture and resulting from a long breeding selection process. Sustainable biotechnology approaches can potentially offer similar results to what previously achieved through classical breeding methods, with the further advantage of keeping unchanged all the other traits of the original variety. This is a fundamental requirement for the Italian and international cultivars employed in the wine sector, from which wines known and appreciated all over the world are derived. EditGrape points to assess and apply the new breeding techniques whose potential is still unexplored to solve specific needs of the viticultural sector.
Main objective of this project is the implementation of a platform for grapevine genetic improvement based on advanced molecular techniques, including the exploitation of the somatic embryogenesis process for selecting plants with ameliorated tolerance to drought stress and diseases, such as downy and powdery mildew. In parallel, a grapevine genome editing strategy will be developed in order to obtain novel genotypes with improved resistance to environmental stresses, ensuring at the same time the preservation of all the others traits of the original variety.