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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Grape Genetics In The News!

Fall 2007-GGRU/PGRU Openhouse

The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station Turned 125 in 2007.  A Gala 125th celebration for the NYSAES occurred during a two-day Open House in Geneva on September 14 and 15, 2007.  Over 1000 local high school students from the area toured the station on Sept. 14, from 10am-3pm, to gain some hands on appreciation for careers in science.  On September 15, the public was invited to a day-long celebration that included activities in the Station's labs, greenhouses, pilot plant, and tour of field activities.

A newspaper insert focused on the 125th is available at the following website as a pdf:

New Dwarf Type May Be a Giant of Grape Research


Pixie grapes on vine.

December 21, 2006 By Luis Pons
Really big things may come from Pixie, a very small grape recently released by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The seeded black fruit of this grape line is not meant for eating. Instead, the variety's novel traits make it ideal for genetics, genomics, breeding and other research that can lead to new breeding lines or cultivars that grape consumers will love.

Pixie fits well into its classification as a dwarf variety. According to Peter Cousins—the geneticist in the ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit at Geneva, N.Y., who helped develop it—mature clusters of Pixie typically measure slightly less than four inches long. He said that a Pixie grapevine can be grown in a coffee cup and still produce some grapes.

This characteristic reduces by about 50-fold the amount of space needed for grapevine experimentation, as Pixie vines can be grown in the greenhouse to maturity without ever needing to be planted in a vineyard.

But what really makes the new grape line special is its ability to initiate fruit year round. In fact, according to Cousins, it's typical to observe flower buds, blooms, immature fruit, and ripe fruit—all on the same vine.

While this trait would not be useful for the consumer-grape industry—grape producers prefer to pick their crop just once—it does accelerate research, allowing for year-round studies on flowers and berries at all stages of development.

Cousins and University of California-Davis scientist David Tricoli developed Pixie by regenerating whole plants from embryogenic cells of the Pinot Meunier variety of grapes.

The concept of developing such dwarf grape plants was first demonstrated and published by Australian scientists Paul K. Boss, Mark R. Thomas, K.G. M. Skene and Martin Barlass.

Intellectual property protection will not be sought for Pixie, according to Cousins.

To inquire about the availability of this new variety, write to Peter Cousins, USDA-ARS, Grape Genetics Research Unit, 630 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456.

ARS is U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.


ARS News Articles

USDA's Agricultural Research Service Announces Scientist of the Year Awards
Jun 12, 2012
Complete More Comprehensive Genetic Analysis of Domesticated Grape
Jan 18, 2011
Bringing Better Grapes a Step Closer to Reality
Mar 23, 2010
Research Probes Day Length Sensing in Grapes
Aug 20, 2009
The Goal: Finding--and Using--Key Grape Genes
Apr 16, 2008
New Dwarf Type May Be a Giant of Grape Research
Dec 21, 2006
A Second Nematode-Foiling Gene Found in Grape Plants
Apr 17, 2006
Grapes' Color Linked to a Gene's Inner Workings
Apr 04, 2006
Last Modified: 9/9/2010