Evolution of the VvMybA gene family, the major determinant of berry colour in cultivated grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.)

Heredity (Edinb). 2010 Apr;104(4):351-62. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2009.148. Epub 2009 Nov 18.


Polymorphisms in the grape transcription factor family VvMybA are responsible for variation in anthocyanin content in the berries of cultivated grapevine (Vitis vinifera L. subsp. sativa). Previous study has shown that white grapes arose through the mutation of two adjacent genes: a retroelement insertion in VvMybA1 and a single-nucleotide polymorphism mutation in VvMybA2. The purpose of this study was to understand how these mutations emerged and affected genetic diversity at neighbouring sites and how they structured the genetic diversity of cultivated grapevines. We sequenced a total of 3225 bp of these genes in a core collection of genetic resources, and carried out empirical selection tests, phylogenetic- and coalescence-based demographic analyses. The insertion in the VvMybA1 promoter was shown to have occurred recently, after the mutation of VvMybA2, both mutations followed by a selective sweep. The mutational pattern for these colour genes is consistent with progressively relaxed selection from constrained ancestral coloured haplotypes to light coloured and finally white haplotypes. Dynamics of population size in the VvMybA genes showed an initial exponential growth, followed by population size stabilization. Most ancestral haplotypes are found in cultivars from western region, whereas recent haplotypes are essentially present in table cultivars from eastern regions where intense breeding practices may have replaced the original diversity. Finally, the emergence of the white allele was followed by a recent strong exponential growth, showing a very fast diffusion of the initial white allele.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Color
  • Crops, Agricultural / anatomy & histology
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Fruit / anatomy & histology
  • Fruit / genetics*
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / physiology
  • Haplotypes
  • Multigene Family
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional / physiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Pigmentation / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics
  • Selection, Genetic / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Vitis / genetics*


  • Transcription Factors