An Agricultural Research Service plant biologist has discovered, through gene mapping, the genetic inheritance of dwarfing characteristics in apple rootstocks. The discovery may lead to faster development of dwarf apple varieties.
The scientist says the ability to read genetic markers for dwarfing and disease resistance could cut evaluation time from 30 years to 15.
Dwarf varieties grow only 10 to 12 feet high, but their yield and fruit size are the same as from full-sized trees. They became popular as high-density orchards came into use and since dwarf trees can be planted per acre than the taller varieties.