Genetic research finds that Norton and Cynthiana grapes are identical.
Same grapes, different names
Good Fruit Grower // June 1, 2017
Bottles of wine made from Norton and Cynthiana grapes at Missouri State University. (Photo courtesy of Missouri State University)
A long running debate over grapes in Missouri and Arkansas has been put to rest by researchers at Missouri State University.
Norton, the official state grape of Missouri, and Cynthiana, the official state grape of Arkansas, are genetically identical, according to a study led by Dr. Chin-Feng Hwang, a professor of agriculture, published in the journal Molecular Breeding.
Hwang and his team compared four samples of Norton from Missouri vineyards and three samples of Cynthiana from Arkansas. They randomly selected 10 genetic markers to compare.
The resulting pattern showed that the samples were genetically identical at each marker.
Hwang says the study should resolve the controversy over which grape is which and what to call the cultivars.
“Our lab is scientifically validating a misnomer of the last 150 years,” Hwang said in a news release from Missouri State. “If the results of this study are taken into consideration, then the terms Norton and Cynthiana should be accepted as the same and used interchangeable.
The article was coauthored by Mia Hammers, Surya Sapkota and Li-Ling Chen.