Screening for potentially novel Pinotage clones generated through irradiance mutagenesis

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Project leader
Burger, P

ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch and South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University

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Project description
The aim of this project is to screen and phenotype new Pinotage plants that were generated in a pilot study that focused on developing methods to induce mutations. The intention is that the mutations could lead to potentially novel clones.
A phased approach will be followed where the initial screening will occur in tunnels or greenhouses to identify a smaller subset with desirable traits that will eventually be transplanted to the field plot for more comprehensive phenotyping. There is high potential for new clones with specific commercially important traits however, it is not a given that researchers will discover such clones.
Clones (and sometimes new cultivars) normally arise through natural mutations and there are numerous examples, especially in very old cultivars that were widely grown in diverse conditions. Relatively young cultivars, such as Pinotage typically have fewer clones identified, since it has not been as widely and extensively planted under varying conditions to allow for natural mutations to occur and be spotted or selected.
Currently, only a few commercial clones of Pinotage exist and given the growing importance of the cultivar and its more widespread plantings, a more diverse set of clones to choose from is desirable.

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