The Epigenomic Plasticity of Grapevine in Genotype per Environment Interactions

Climate change is expected to significantly impact agriculture in the near future and poses serious threats. Phenotypic plasticity, i.e. the ability of a single genotype to produce a range of phenotypes in response to changes in the environment, is believed to effectively buffer environmental extremes and maintain homeostasis of primary metabolism, until the point beyond which plant physiology is compromised. In this project, we propose to analyze Genotype x Environment (GxE) interactions in two varieties of grapevine, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, by characterizing their transcriptome and epigenome plasticity when cultivated in three different Italian areas. Biological material harvested in field experiments will be paralleled by in vitro-produced material. The in vitro analysis will elucidate the plastic effects of somatic embryogenesis, a regeneration system known to exploit genotype-dependent reactions to growth conditions. In particular the project will allow to indentify molecular markers, i.e. genes, transcripts, splicing variants and epigenetic modifications, influencing the grapevine fitness under diverse growing environments and markers responsible for different embryogenic aptitudes in two grapevine cultivars.