Recently, Italian companies working in the production of table grape are suffering for their inability to
satisfy the requirements of the foreign markets. This is mainly due to the strong reduction of cultivated
areas and to the increasing demand of seedless table grape, which production in Italy represents only
For these reasons, the Italian companies are asking to the research institutions to create innovative
processes able to help the productive compound of the table grape sector to compete to the new
challenges of this sector. In this aspect, molecular genetics and DNA marker technology have the
enormous potential to improve the efficiency and precision of conventional plant breeding via markerassisted
selection (MAS). Thanks to the advancements in genetic mapping studies it has been proposed
the MADS-box gene VvAGL11 as the major functional candidate gene for seedlessness trait.
Nevertheless, besides the tight relationship existing between seedlessness and the gene VvAGL11, the
exact role of this gene in seed development has not been demonstrated yet.
In this context, this project aims to functionally characterize the VvAGL11 gene in order to better
understand the molecular basis of seedlessness trait, one of the most desired traits in breeding
In particular, the expression profile of VvAGL11 during seed formation will be performed by in situ
hybridization approach in order to evaluate its expression at cellular level. Moreover, by a global gene
expression analysis in seeded and seedless grape cultivars and by a transient ectopic expression of
VvAGL11 gene in cv. Sultana leaves, specific pathways directly modulated by VvAGL11 will be
The characterization of these pathways will putatively allow to find additional markers able to discern
individuals with different seedless levels and to select optimal new varieties in ongoing breeding
programs, in particular those varieties carrying large berries completely seedless.