Epigenetic differences between wild and cultivated grapevines highlight the contribution of DNA methylation during crop domestication

Alberto Rodriguez-Izquierdo, David Carrasco, Lakshay Anand, Roberta Magnani, Pablo Catarecha, Rosa Arroyo-Garcia, Carlos M. Rodriguez Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The domestication process in grapevines has facilitated the fixation of desired traits. Nowadays, vegetative propagation through cuttings enables easier preservation of these genotypes compared to sexual reproduction. Nonetheless, even with vegetative propagation, various phenotypes are often present within the same vineyard due to the accumulation of somatic mutations. These mutations are not the sole factors influencing phenotype. Alongside somatic variations, epigenetic variation has been proposed as a pivotal player in regulating phenotypic variability acquired during domestication. The emergence of these epialleles might have significantly influenced grapevine domestication over time. This study aims to investigate the impact of domestication on methylation patterns in cultivated grapevines. Reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing was conducted on 18 cultivated and wild accessions. Results revealed that cultivated grapevines exhibited higher methylation levels than their wild counterparts. Differential Methylation Analysis between wild and cultivated grapevines identified a total of 9955 differentially methylated cytosines, of which 78% were hypermethylated in cultivated grapevines. Functional analysis shows that core methylated genes (consistently methylated in both wild and cultivated accessions) are associated with stress response and terpenoid/isoprenoid metabolic processes. Meanwhile, genes with differential methylation are linked to protein targeting to the peroxisome, ethylene regulation, histone modifications, and defense response. Collectively, our results highlight the significant roles that epialleles may have played throughout the domestication history of grapevines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number504
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Cultivated
  • Domestication
  • EpiGBS
  • Epigenetic memory
  • Epigenomics
  • Grapevine
  • Methylation
  • Wild

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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