Vitis vinifera (2n=38) is part of the Vitaceae family, which comprises 17 genera, mostly woody or herbaceous lianas primarily inter-tropical in their distribution. Only one genus, Vitis, produces edible berries. It contains about 60 dioecious species that are distributed almost equally between America and Asia and represent a considerable resource for resistance to pathogens (Mullins & al, 1992). Vitis vinifera L. is the only species originating from Eurasia and it has been spread throughout the world by human cultivation. The Vitaceae family is a basal family of the rosids (Jansen & al, 2006).
The number of chromosome per haploid genome across the Vitacea family varies from 11 to 20. Cytological observations of F1 hybrids between Vitis vinifera (2n=38) and Muscadinia rotundifolia (2n=40), suggested an allopolyploid origin of the Vitis genome (Mullins & al, 1992).
Perennial liana like Vitis vinifera have many developmental aspects different from Arabidopsis, poplar, Medicago and tomato, which include a unique shoot architecture with petiolated leaves opposite to either inflorescences or tendrils. Inflorescences have a pyramidal branched structure with an asynchronous development of flowers. The five petals of the flowers are jointed into a cap structure which falls at anthesis, liberating the stamens and the pistil. Particularly adapted to avian dissemination, the berry pericarp undergoes multifaceted metabolic changes common to most fleshy fruits species as they shift from a repulsive to an attractive status. The transition between these two status is abrupt and the trigger remains unknown (Mullins & al, 1992). Unlike in tomato, berry ripening occurs without an increase in respiration, or a significant emission of ethylene.