The Grapevine Transformation and Regeneration Programme

Project Number
IWBT 04-11

Project title
The grapevine transformation and regeneration programme

Project leader
Vivier, M A

University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of AgriSciences. Institute for Wine Biotechnology

Team members
Taylor, K L
Chen, S
Lerm, T

Project description
The use of genetic manipulation in agriculture is generally seen as the basis of the new era in agricultural advancement. In plant biotechnology, genetic manipulation generally involves the transfer of the target gene(s) that imparts a specified characteristic to the plant material of choice through a specific transformation protocol, and the subsequent regeneration and analysis of transgenic plantlets. In grapevine biotechnology, we have achieved successful transformation and regeneration of several wine grape cultivars. Based on these successes and in an attempt to extend these technologies to other researchers in grapevine biotechnology, we have established a grapevine transformation and regeneration programme where transgenic grapevines can be generated on a contract basis. Linked to this service is the improvement of the existing procedures, specifically a time reduction in the selection and regeneration phases.

Agrobacterium-based transformations of grapevine utilising somatic embryo cultures have proven to be very successful and several high efficiency and reproducible transformation protocols are currently in use. We have optimised somatic embryogenesis protocols for various wine grape cultivars and successfully transformed several of these cultivars with a reporter gene according to the method of Franks et al. (1998) In a previous project funded by Winetech, embryogenic cell-lines have been generated that are highly suitable for transformations and we are rendering a transformation and regeneration service to other role-players in grapevine biotechnology. This transformation and regeneration programme also includes research objectives to optimise the selection and regeneration phases of the protocols with specific emphasis on the problems of necrosis and the relatively long selection and regeneration phases.

Vivier, M A. 2000. The establishment of synchronised somatic embryogenic cell-lines of grape cultivars suitable for genetic transformation experiments. 2nd International Congress of the South African Society for Enology and Viticulture, November, Somerset West, South Africa.

Lerm, T and Vivier, M A. 2001. Optimisation of germination and regeneration of somatic embryos from Vitis vinifera. 24th 2nd National Congress of the South African Society for Enology and Viticulture, November, Somerset West, South Africa.

Vivier, M A, Pretorius, I S. 2000. Genetic improvement of grapevine: Tailoring grape varieties for the Third Millenium – a review, South African Journal of Enology and Viticulture, v. 21 Special issue (p. 5-26)


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