Vitisgen (http://www.vitisgen.org/index.html) is a large, multi-disciplinary, collaborative project focused on decreasing the time, effort and cost involved in developing the next generation of grapes. Vitisgen incorporates cutting edge genomics technology and socioeconomic research into the traditional grape breeding and evaluation process, which will speed up the ability to identify important genes related consumer-valued traits like disease resistance, low temperature tolerance and enhanced fruit quality. Identifying these genes will help grape breeding programs from around the world to more rapidly develop new grape varieties that will appeal to a wide range of consumers, while also addressing grower and producer needs. Additionally, the scientific resources developed during the project will allow scientists and breeders to address other issues and needs that have regional significance, like salinity or drought tolerance.
Vitisgen represents a new model of scientific collaboration. The integration of the needs of multiple interests—breeders, growers, fruit processors and consumers—into a single outcome will result in novel grape varieties that are beneficial to producers, processors and consumers.
I am part of this project on the extension and outreach team (http://www.vitisgen.org/teams.html#extension). Read more about VitisGen extension here (http://www.vitisgen.org/extension.html). This project has tremendous potential to revolutionize grapevine breeding and help reduce the time needed to get new cultivars out to growers. I encourage you to take a look and feel free to write me with any feedback you have.