Historical Genetics: The Parentage of Chardonnay, Gamay, and Other Wine Grapes of Northeastern France

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Science  03 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5433, pp. 1562-1565
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5433.1562

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The origins of the classic European wine grapes (Vitis vinifera) have been the subject of much speculation. In a search for parental relationships, microsatellite loci were analyzed in more than 300 grape cultivars. Sixteen wine grapes that have long been grown in northeastern France, including ‘Chardonnay’, ‘Gamay noir’, ‘Aligoté’, and ‘Melon’, have microsatellite genotypes consistent with their being the progeny of a single pair of parents, ‘Pinot’ and ‘Gouais blanc’, both of which were widespread in this region in the Middle Ages. Parentage analysis at 32 microsatellite loci provides statistical support for these relationships.

  • * Present address: Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: cpmeredith{at}

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