Apple Domestication and Preservation

March 14, 2016

What kind of apple trees do we have in Duluth and Northern Minnesota? 

Although some known varieties of apple are cultivated in the area, there are also many popular local apples that do not have a known pedigree or official name. The laboratory of Dr. Briana Gross is working on documenting the diversity of apples present in the Duluth region using molecular markers.

These markers can be compared within the region to search for duplicates (a sign of clonal propagation) and to the markers present in named varieties housed at the USDA national collection. Some of our apple varieties may already exist in the USDA collection under a different name. Alternatively, the varieties may be unique, and thus represent a novel contribution to North American varietal diversity.

This project has important local impacts, as it will allow us to better utilizing the unique varieties that are adapted to our climate and soils. It is also interesting from a basic science standpoint, because it will provide information on how fruit crops are distributed across the landscape through both clonal and sexual propagation.