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New Research Suggests Modern Apples Evolved from Kazakhstan 10,000 years ago

The birth of the modern apples ultimately led to 7,500 varieties of the fruit

Silk Road
Modern Day Apples evolved from Kazakhstan. Wikimedia
  • The latest research suggests that the modern apples originated from Kazakhstan
  • The study was carried out by researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute in the United States
  • It was the genetic exchange from traders who used the Silk Road that the modern apples emerged in Kazakhstan

US, August 17, 2017: A new study suggests that the modern apples that are so crisp, yet so juicy, actually originated from Kazakhstan 10,000 years ago.

The study by researchers at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) in the US reveal that during the back and forth traveling by traders on the Silk Road, the genetic exchange occurred that led to the emergence of modern day apples in Kazakhstan’s mountainous regions. Malus Domestica is the scientific name for our modern domesticated apples.

The Silk Road connected the East to the West. Hence, it led to an exposure of knowledge and ideas. Researchers hypothesize that this exchange of ideas resulted in the birth of the tasty Malus Domestica.

Lead Author of the study and Professor at Boyce Thompson Institute, Zhangjun Fei, explains his team’s study which is published in the journal Nature Communications.

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To carry out the study, the team of researchers sequenced 117 different apples and compared their genomes. These included the wild species extracted from Europe, North America, Central and East Asia.

The birth of the modern apples ultimately led to 7,500 varieties of the fruit. Interestingly, the quality of the fruit changed as from region to region as it first traveled from the East to the West. When the apples returned to go back to the west, the dropped seeds on the way helped the growth of trees in wild places.

M Sylvestris was dominant in the Apple’s growth. It’s ancestor, M Sieversii is found predominantly in Kazakhstan.

Our modern day apples have well-balanced sugar and higher organic acid contents. Hence, it is no wonder now that Apple is one of the favorite fruits for many people.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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The deadly novel coronavirus outbreak has so far killed 259 people in China, besides others world wide. As of Saturday, total infected are 11,791

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People wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus on a street in Hong Kong. VOA

Researchers have found that the mechanics of infection displayed by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) are similar to that of the 2002-03 SARS outbreak — also a coronavirus.

Studies over the years show that both viruses use same enzyme to gain entry into a cell.

As compared to nearly 11,000 people infected with the new coronavirus, most in China since it emerged in December; in 2003 around 8,100 cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) were reported during the eight-month outbreak.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Virology, the recent emergence of coronavirus in China has put the world on high alert for transcontinental transmission, reminiscent of the outbreak of SARS.

Decade-long structural studies by Fang Li of the University of Minnesota in US, show how the SARS virus (SARS-CoV) interacts with animal and human hosts in order to infect them.

These researchers used the knowledge they gleaned from multiple SARS-CoV strains — isolated from different hosts in different years — and angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptors from different animal species to model predictions for the novel coronavirus. (Both viruses use ACE2 to gain entry into the cell, but it serves normally as a regulator for heart function.)

Passengers arriving from a China Southern Airlines flight from Changsha in China are screened for the new type of coronavirus. VOA

“Our structural analyses confidently predict that the Wuhan coronavirus uses ACE2 as its host receptor,” the study researchers said.

According to the study, several other structural details of the new virus are consistent with the ability of the 2019 coronavirus to infect humans and with some capability to transmit among humans.

“Alarmingly, our data predict that a single mutation (at a specific spot in the genome) could significantly enhance (the Wuhan coronavirus’s) ability to bind with human ACE2,” the researchers said.

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For this reason, 2019 coronavirus evolution in patients should be closely monitored for the emergence of novel mutations at the 501 position in its genome, and to a lesser extent, the 494 position, in order to predict the possibility of a more serious outbreak than has been seen so far.

The study provides the basic, translational and public health research communities with predictive insights that may help study and battle this novel coronavirus.

The deadly novel coronavirus outbreak has so far killed 259 people in China, besides others world wide. As of Saturday, total infected are 11,791. (IANS)