The USDA National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) sponsored a 1993 collection of wild Malus in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan which followed a collection in 1989 from sites in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. There is strong evidence that the domestic apple originated in the foothills of the Tian Shari mountains where Malus sieversii (Ldb.) M. Roem remains as a primary forest species. The goal of the recent expedition was to obtain additional genetic diversity of apple from some of the remote sites in that area with the assistance of the Kazakh hosts. While there, isolated pockets of other fruit in the wild (especially Vitis) were discovered and collected. Seed collections from the expedition are stored with the NPGS and seedling populations are being evaluated for valuable traits.
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