A $6.2-million multi-partner funding commitment will allow Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) to support the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN-RCCV) to fast-track the certification of grapevine planting material as virus-free.
Under Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP), CLEan plAnt extractioN SEquencing Diagnostics (CLEANSED) is a jointly funded initiative between Brock, CFIA, CGCN-RCCV, University of Victoria, Université de Sherbrooke, Genome Canada, Genome BC, Genome Quebec, Ontario Genomics, Agriculture and Agri Food Canada (AAFC), Compute Canada, Conseil des vins du Quebec and Illumina.
CLEANSED uses high-throughput sequencing technology with improved sensitivity to simultaneously detect multiple viruses in a grapevine. This genomic-based solution would replace more than 30 tests currently being performed on grapevines to look for diseases. This one genomic test can speed up the release of virus-free grapevine material from three years to one year or less, providing rapid access to valuable new varieties. CGCN-RCCV will use this for testing and monitoring domestically propagated vines, ensuring grape growers have faster and more affordable access to clean vines.
“This funding will allow grape growers to rapidly improve the health of their vineyards and boost the domestic capacity in the supply of much needed virus-free grapevine plant material in Canada,” says CCOVI senior scientist Sudarsana Poojari, who is leading the academic team of scientists.
Grape growers currently lose an estimated $23 million per year due to grapevine virus infections. In order to both replace infected material and maintain routine vine replacement and modest expansion, growers currently need access to an estimated 6.7 million affordable, virus-free vines.
High cost and convoluted testing methods, however, have been hindering the ability of growers to obtain those vines, says CGCN Vice-Chair and grape grower Bill Schenck.
Source: Brock University October 28, 2020 news release