Due to the importance of in wine-making, the genomic variation of wine yeast strains has been extensively studied. One of the major insights stemming from these studies is that wine yeast strains harbor low levels of genetic diversity in the form of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Genomic structural variants, such as copy number (CN) variants, are another major type of variation segregating in natural populations. To test whether genetic diversity in CN variation is also low across wine yeast strains, we examined genome-wide levels of CN variation in 132 whole-genome sequences of wine strains. We found an average of 97.8 CN variable regions (CNVRs) affecting ∼4% of the genome per strain. Using two different measures of CN diversity, we found that gene families involved in fermentation-related processes such as copper resistance (), flocculation (), and glucose metabolism (), as well as the gene family whose members are expressed before or during the diauxic shift, showed substantial CN diversity across the 132 strains examined. Importantly, these same gene families have been shown, through comparative transcriptomic and functional assays, to be associated with adaptation to the wine fermentation environment. Our results suggest that CN variation is a substantial contributor to the genomic diversity of wine yeast strains, and identify several candidate loci whose levels of CN variation may affect the adaptation and performance of wine yeast strains during fermentation.
Copyright © 2017 Steenwyk and Rokas.