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Pinot Noir Genome Mapped  Add/Read Comments

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French and Italian researchers have cracked the genome of Pinot Noir and have found it has more genes in its DNA than the human genome.

There are 30,000 genes in its DNA apparently compared to 20,000 - 25,000 in the human genome.

The team published its findings in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, saying it identified the nearly half a billion chemical building blocks of the grape's DNA.

The pinot noir is the first grape -- and first fruit -- ever genetically mapped, and it would take years to apply this new knowledge to today's vines. But down the line, it could possibly lead to hardier grape varieties, more resistant to bugs and disease.

The team said its research had confirmed that the grape has an unusually high number of genes whose job it is to create flavor. More than 100 of its genes are dedicated to producing tannins and terpenes -- compared to about 50 for other plants, said researcher Patrick Wincker.

He said the mapping of those flavor-producing genes could be a first step toward developing new flavors in wine by allowing scientists to breed different varieties to create precise new tastes.

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