Biotech Updates

New Disease-Resistant Apple Variety from University of Illinois

January 23, 2009

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a late-ripening, disease-resistant apple variety. The new variety, which they named WineCrisp, carries the Vf gene for scab resistance. WineCrisp was developed over the past 20 plus years through classical breeding techniques.

Why does it take over 20 years to make an apple? The researchers explained that it has taken them a long time because they want to test the apple variety in different locations and observe it over a number of years. The original cross in the breeding process was done at Rutgers in 1989. The University of Illinois has also collaborated with Purdue University on the project. U of I geneticist Schuyler Korban noted that it takes time for a new orchard or even for an existing orchard to plant new apple varieties. But when WineCrisp cuttings are grafted into a fast-growing root stock, Korban says there could be fruit on the tree in as little as three years.

Read the press release at