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New slice out of the apple

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International team undertook intriguing challenge

I often eat without thinking, either while listening to the news or writing. It’s a poor habit for several reasons, one of which is my ever-growing waistline. 

But the next time you bite into an apple, I implore you to take just a moment to really savor its taste, aroma, and texture. Those characteristics vary a lot between a Granny Smith and a Golden Delicious, or a McIntosh and a Braeburn. The variation is one reason apples are a delight.  

Apples come from an ancestor tree that had small and acidic fruit. We don’t know exactly how it was that people coaxed substantial improvement out of acid apples, but around 2000 B.C. people produced sweet apple stock. 

That was also when they began grafting branches from one tree onto another, a clever idea if ever there was one. Much later the Romans, who knew a good thing when they saw it, spread the sweet apple and grafting technology to many lands. 

Now skip with me up to the present, because there’s some big news about apples. In the parlance of biologists, the full genome of the apple has recently been described. 


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