Uncovering the genetic control of cold resistance and adapting winter survival models for Northeast grape production

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2016: $13,450.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2017
Grant Recipient: Cornell University
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Bruce Reisch
Cornell University

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Fruits: grapes, general tree fruits


  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, plant breeding and genetics, tissue analysis, varieties and cultivars
  • Education and Training: decision support system, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: risk management
  • Sustainable Communities: quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    Sustainable viticulture often faces challenges from cold weather in the Northeastern US. Climate change will likely increase the occurrence of freeze damage due to uncertainty in long term weather patterns. Therefore, a method of predicting cold hardiness, as well as understanding the genetic aspects of this complex trait in grapevines would greatly contribute to the grape industry in the Northeast. The purpose of this study is to adapt an existing prediction model for the effect of temperature shifts on the changes of cold hardiness of grapevine buds in the Northeast region and identify genes responsible for cold resistance that may be used as markers for development of new cultivars. Grapevine buds will be collected from a vineyard in the Finger Lakes Wine Region in NY. Differential thermal analysis (DTA) will be used to determine low temperature exotherms (LTE), a measure of cold hardiness of buds, at weekly intervals. At the same sampling points, buds will be collected for determination of water content, and for RNA-Seq. Weather data collected by the Cornell NEWA (http://newa.cornell.edu) station located in Geneva, NY, will be used to adapt a model for cold resistance. Daily average temperature, chill accumulation, and growing degree-days, as well as bud water content will be used as predictors for LTE. RNA-Seq data will be analyzed to find differentially expressed genes and enriched pathways. The adapted dynamic model will become a tool for growers in the NE region, while genes related to cold hardiness can become markers to facilitate breeding efforts.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The current proposal aims to generate a model which will help understanding cold resistance in grapevines in the Northeast, providing farmers with a tool for prediction of cold damage in their vineyards. This research also aims to identify genes responsible for the changes in cold resistance. Therefore, this research proposal has two main objectives:


    1. Adapt a dynamic model for cold hardiness prediction in the Northeastern United States, using data from the Finger Lakes wine region in New York.
    2. Evaluate changes in gene expression in grapevine buds as a response to temperature shifts to identify specific genes and enriched pathways related to cold hardiness.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.