Evaluation of induced mutation methods to increase the genetic variability of Pinotage
Viviers, M A
Burger, J T
Van Schalkwyk, D
Daniels, E A
Traditional cross-breeding, especially in a heterozygous crop like grapevine, is not suited to improve or alter single or limited characteristics of an existing cultivar. Although genetic modification (GMO) could be an ideal solution as it allows a specific gene(s) to be inserted to improve or alter a characteristic, the technology is controversial and consumers of grapes and grape products are not yet ready to accept it. Numerous examples of spontaneous bud-mutations that resulted in new cultivars or clones of existing cultivars are known.
Amongst these are the Pinot cultivars and clones. Pinotage is a locally bred cultivar and is being developed as a South African flagship red cultivar, but the industry relies on a few clones of this cultivar. Induced mutation has been used with success in numerous crops and could be an avenue to explore, even though it alters characteristics at random. The aim of this study is to explore irradiation based mutagenesis of Pinotage to generate more variation for possible selection of important traits. This pilot study will use Pinotage material to evaluate and optimise the most appropriate mutagenesis protocol.
Irradiation doses and length of exposure to mutagenic agents need to be established for the specific cultivar and the different starting material/tissues. Factors that are to be considered and optimised are the dose that is are most effective to induce mutation, while ensuring survival and regeneration of plants.
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