Dr. Juan Carreño
Head of Breeding
Senior Molecular Biologist
The Grape Genesis breeding program is managed by Dr. Juan Carreño as Head Plant Breeder. He has over 30 years’ experience as a plant geneticist. Clearly, genetics runs in the Carreño Family because 2 of Juan’s sons are also part of the Grape Genesis team – Ivan Carreño is an experienced Molecular Biologist who runs the tissue culture and DNA lab, whilst Jose Carreño is an Agricultural Engineer specializing in biological systems.
SNFL launched its Grape Genesis breeding program in 2015 with the clear objective of building on Tim Sheehan’s legacy and to provide the highly dynamic global grape industry with even better and more consumer-focused varieties. Just as Tim Sheehan did in 1996, The Grape Genesis Team began by expanding the genetic diversity of SNFL’s gene pool with the development of new parental material sometimes from wild species, whose genes are more resistant to disease.
The start of the breeding process.
The male flower parts are removed from the female parent to prevent self-pollination.
Pollen is collected from the male parent and used to fertilize the flowers of the female parent.
Once the berries have developed on the female parent, the fruit is collected and the embryo is removed. It is only the embryo that contains the combined genes of the male and female parents.
The minuscule embryos are cultured in the lab until they differentiate into tiny plantlets.
Growth and Development
The plantlets grow on in test tubes until they develop into miniature plants.
The mini plants are transferred to the nursery.
The plants grow and develop into young vines and are then transferred to to the Hybrid Block - each vine is genetically unique.
Evaluation and Selection
Now begins the long and painstaking work of evaluating all the hybrids to see which will be selected as varieties of the future.
The final selections are shipped to our test blocks around the world for evaluation under local conditions.
Shaping the Future of Table Grapes
Our goal is to take table grape breeding to the next level. The Grape Genesis program is not about producing yet more of the same. Every new variety that the team releases will have novel features and consumer attributes that will create interest and drive sales. We are working on increased antioxidant content to improve the already great health benefits of grapes, the introduction of natural disease tolerance and resistance that result in much reduced pesticide inputs, and of course the development of new and exciting flavor profiles to delight consumers.