Hi, this is Alex,
and this is my favorite apple – the McIntosh.
I think it has a remarkable flavor,
but what’s even more remarkable is that
it grew on a tree that’s over two hundred years old.
I mean, the original McIntosh tree got burnt and then died in 1910,
but before it died,
its branches were cut and fused onto the roots from other apple trees,
in a process called grafting that was repeated time and time again
to generate lots of clones.
one of which produced my apple.
These clones which all together we call the McIntosh variety
are essentially the same tree sliced into pieces and re-grown elsewhere.
so they all have the same genesand and characteristics,
meaning they’re all equally delicious.
But they’re also all equally susceptible to the same diseases and pests,
and to changing climatic conditions and consumer preferences.
So, I suppose it would be good to have new varieties of apples to choose from,
even if they’re not as amazing as the McIntosh,
but it turns out that’s way harder than it sounds.
With other plants, like grains,
we can create new varieties really quickly,
because they produce seeds within a single year
that grow into offspring with predictable characteristics.
So we can quickly breed thousands of combinations of parents,
pick the best offspring, and repeat.
successfully breeding new varieties in as little as three years
and bringing them to market just as fast.
But fruit trees are unpredictable,
Because of their complicated genetics.
even if we crossbreed parents that have good characteristics,
nearly all of their offspring will grow poorly or have mediocre fruit.
That’s why back in the early 1800s,
the McIntosh family had to cut branches off of their original
and (amazing), tree to graft onto the roots from other trees.
And fruit trees are also slow,
Growing them from seeds takes decades,
And if you manage to grow one with promising characteristics,
you still need to graft it onto lots of different roots in different places
to test whether its clones grow well in different conditions,
which takes another decade.
Then, if the clones have grown well,
meaning the variety is good.
farmers might be convinced to graft branches to roots in their own orchards,
and wait another decade for the branches to grow into trees and produce apples.
再等十年 树枝长成树 结出苹果
Finally, after decades of development,
the variety is ready for stores!
But… because consumers are fickle,
there’s no guarantee that they’ll even like it.
And that is why successful apple varieties don’t come around very often,
the most popular ones are on average 120 years old.
This is actually the same across all fruit trees.
The Navel orange, for example, is 200 years old,
and you might have eaten the same variety of pear as Abraham Lincoln,
or snacked on the same kind of fig as Cleopatra.
But despite the long odds,
every few decades tree breeders strike gold.
The Honeycrisp apple, for example,
debuted in 1991 after decades of breeding, growing,and testing.
and thanks to its, well,
honey-like flavor and crisp texture, as well as its long shelf-life,
it has been a best-seller ever since.
And who knows what other new varieties are coming along
that might also upset the apple cart.
Mmh! This video was brought to you by the creators of the Honeycrisp variety:
the University of Minnesota
where Senior Research Fellow David Bedford and Professor Jim Luby
学校高级研究员David Bedford和教授Jim Luby
in the Department of Horticultural Science have been breeding apples for decades.
In that same department, Professor Emily Hoover
is working to improve the root stocks used to grow apples commercially.
And in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Professors James Anderson and Don Wyse
James Anderson教授和Don Wyse教授
breed corn and annual and perennial wheat.
These researchers, along with students, faculty and staff across all fields of study
这些研究者 学生 教师及各领域的专家
are working to solve the Grand Challenges facing society,
including feeding the world sustainably.
Thanks, University of Minnesota!
Hi, this is Alex,