Modern apples are a product of bear selection and a mother-father pair of trees in the Tian Shen forests of Kazakhastan, where many tasty and supremely healthy varieties can still be found today. Techly contributer Riordan Lee explains:
After sequencing the entire genome, scientists have traced 90% of the billions of apples that have ever been, back to the Malus sieversii – the original wild apple.
This species was born deep in the heart of the Tien Shen forests – where dense covers of apple trees dominated the hilly, remote mountain ranges.
The reason most apples have that classic, sweet ‘apple’ flavour is funnily enough, because of bears.
In these Kazakh forests, bears, being the picky buggers that they are, would only pick and eat the sweetest apples.
Then they’d go and wander around poop everywhere and the seeds of these sweet, delicious apples were spread around.
Today, tourism and deforestation are threatening the Kazakh region’s, “highly disease resistant, sweet, and hard,” apple trees. Due to centuries of inbreeding, the genetic structure of apple varieties outside of Kazakhastan has become fragile and their immune systems are weak. Fruit from Kazakh trees has the power to save apples around when seedlings from their stock is merged with genetically weaker varieties the rest of us know and love.
We must protect our apples!