The global wine industry may be on the cusp of a revolution thanks to pioneering genetic research conducted by scientists at New Zealand’s Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research that not only has ramifications for controlling disease and increasing productivity, but will quite likely mean completely new varieties of grapes and styles of wine.

The research project initially began to fill a gap in the identification and function of the genes that underpin the key characteristics of grapevines.

The goal was to bed down a research framework such as those used by researchers with other plant species to establish a knowledge base for the study of gene behaviour and the critical processes of grape production.
But as research developed, new opportunities became apparent and a greater emphasis was placed on investigating the potential for manufacturing and encouraging the expression of genetic elements within grapevines which may, in turn, come with commercial benefits.

At the heart of the research are transposons: naturally occurring, mobile DNA sequences that have the ability to replicate and insert themselves into new positions within the same or another chromosome.

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