Many different grape varieties have been bred around the world and have played an important role in the cultural heritage of humanity since the Neolithic period, mostly in the production of wine which uses over 70% of the world’s grape production. A key step in the domestication of the grapevine was the transition from separate sexes (dioecy) in wild Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris (V. sylvestris) to hermaphroditism in cultivated Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa (V. vinifera). This happened in the domestication of Papaya and Stawberry too.
The domesticated Grape was only the second woody species to have its genome sequenced, and the first fruit crop. The first grape genome published was that of cultivar Pinot Noir PN40024. Sequencing the genome is now rapidly leading to insights into wine aroma and flavour development, and this will hopefully lead to new and exciting wines for us to enjoy!