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Virus may be key to grape evolution

Research shown that Pinot Noir's genetic heritage lies in ancient plant viruses. Dr Andrew Geering and colleagues from the University of Queensland published a study in Nature Communications which has mapped the presence of 300 million year old viruses in Pinot Noir DNA. Rather than being a hindrance these viruses have played an important role in evolution.Dr Geering said Plants cope with threats by acquiring new biochemical pathways or growth habits he explained Fortunately, there are special mechanisms to repair these mutations. It's during this repair procedure that foreign DNA such as that originating from viruses can be inserted into the plant's own genetic code, much like using putty to fill a crack in the wall.