A joint study conducted by 89 Chinese and overseas scientists has proved that domestication of different wild grape ecotypes occurred concurrently about 11,000 years ago in Western Asia and the Caucasus, which yielded table and wine grapevines.
The findings were published by the journal Science on Friday and chosen as the cover story.
According to the paper, "Western Asia domesticates dispersed into Europe with early farmers, introgressed with ancient wild western ecotypes, and subsequently diversified along human migration trails into muscat and unique western wine grape ancestries by the late Neolithic."
Analyses of domestication traits also reveal new insights into selection for berry palatability, hermaphroditism, muscat flavor, and skin color.
Dong Yang, a professor at Yunnan Agricultural University, and his team assembled some 5,000 grape genetic resources globally, spent three years completing genome analysis, and mapped the reference genome of cultivated grapevines.
The team said the research results support the functional genomics research and breeding of grapes.