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The reduction in genetic diversity of apples since the 1920s

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am
by OrangePippin-Richard
This fascinating and well-written article shows how most new apples developed since the 1920s depend on a "big six" of key apple varieties.

http://www.suttonelms.org.uk/apple-vitality.html

Is this a problem?

Re: The reduction in genetic diversity of apples since the 1

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:57 am
by Hugh
I don't see a problem. There are whole forests of wild apples in western China. there are also native apple species in N. America. The original genetic material is still there and has not been lost.

By the way, "inbreeding" is presented as being undesirable, when in fact many breeds of dogs, cattle, horses, crop plants, etc have been subjected to inbreeding to achieve desired attributes. Inbreeding oftentimes will produce offspring with superior attributes to either parent. This effect is called heterosis.

The market place wants good tasting and good storing apples. Many apples and apple rootstocks are also bred to have disease resistance.