It’s been a good year for apples. Across Europe the apple harvest is the biggest it has been for a decade. But the handful of apple types you see on supermarket shelves only tells part of the story. There are actually 7,500 varieties of eating apple grown all over the world, and growers and scientists are making efforts to conserve and extend this.
New research clarifies the genetic exchange that brought us today’s domesticated apples.Silk Road travelers, trading their goods and ideas across Eurasia, brought with them hitchhiking apple seeds, discarded from the choicest fruit pulled from wild trees. This early selection would eventually lead to the 7,500 varieties of apple that exist today.