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Manuel Di Vecchi Staraz, Roberto Bandinelli, Maurizio Boselli, Patrice This, Jean-Michel Boursiquot, Valérie Laucou, Thierry Lacombe, and Didier Varès

Genetic structuring and parentage analysis were performed on a very large database comprising 2786 unique multilocus genotypes [20 nuclear simple sequence repeats (nSSRs)] of Vitis vinifera L. ssp. sativa (DC.) Hegi with a special focus on Tuscan cultivars to reveal the parentage and history of the cultivar Sangiovese, the most important cultivar of Italy. For this cultivar, the authors also analyzed clones and synonyms, investigating its genetic origin and intracultivar diversity. Known synonyms of ‘Sangiovese’ were confirmed and new ones were revealed with cultivars outside Tuscany. Some synonyms were invalidated, and unexpected homonyms were identified. The absence of true intracultivar variability leads to the rejection of a polyclonal origin for ‘Sangiovese’. The existence of an Italian genetic pool composed of ancient cultivars including Sangiovese was demonstrated by analyzing the entire set of 2786 cultivars. Ten individuals compose the kin group of ‘Sangiovese’, including two offspring: ‘Ciliegiolo’ and ‘Catarratto bianco faux’. Despite the large presence and long history of ‘Sangiovese’ in the Tyrrenian area, its kin group is unexpectedly composed of a majority of ancient cultivars that are largely diffused in far southern Italy, which leads to the hypothesis of a Sicilian origin for ‘Sangiovese’. Analysis of the Tuscan pool revealed large kin groups for cultivars Mammolo and Garganega, demonstrating their contribution to the genetic diversification in the Tyrrenian area. This work contributes to the understanding of grapevine diversification, evolution, and history in Italy and Europe.