Diversity and adaptive evolution of Saccharomyces wine yeast: a review

FEMS Yeast Res. 2015 Nov;15(7):fov067. doi: 10.1093/femsyr/fov067. Epub 2015 Jul 22.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae and related species, the main workhorses of wine fermentation, have been exposed to stressful conditions for millennia, potentially resulting in adaptive differentiation. As a result, wine yeasts have recently attracted considerable interest for studying the evolutionary effects of domestication. The widespread use of whole-genome sequencing during the last decade has provided new insights into the biodiversity, population structure, phylogeography and evolutionary history of wine yeasts. Comparisons between S. cerevisiae isolates from various origins have indicated that a variety of mechanisms, including heterozygosity, nucleotide and structural variations, introgressions, horizontal gene transfer and hybridization, contribute to the genetic and phenotypic diversity of S. cerevisiae. This review will summarize the current knowledge on the diversity and evolutionary history of wine yeasts, focusing on the domestication fingerprints identified in these strains.

Keywords: comparative genomics; domestication; evolutionary history; horizontal transfer; hybrids; wine fermentation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Saccharomyces / classification*
  • Saccharomyces / genetics*
  • Wine / microbiology*