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How the apple conquered the world

Apples may not be the most exciting fruits available at the supermarket, but their history is, The Guardian reports. Researchers studied the genetics of varieties of U.S. and Chinese apples and were able to map out their journeys along the Silk Road spanning Eurasia, they report in Nature Communications. It’s been known that modern apples descended from a wild central Asian apple, but this study refined that assertion. The fruit traveled westward from Kazakhstan along the historical trade route and came into contact with a type of European crabapple. The two species cross-pollinated (likely from discarded cores) and gave us the apples we know today. Their larger size can be attributed to the Kazakh variety, whereas their crunch and taste were passed on from the crabapple. Researchers think these findings could lead to improved apple varieties that are even bigger and more resistant to diseases.  

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