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The Honeycrisp Apple’s Family Tree

Since its release in 1991, the origins of the Honeycrisp apple have been a mystery. Originally billed as the child of Macoun and Honeygold, researchers quickly discovered that neither of these varieties were the parents of Minnesota's favorite apple. Twenty-six years later, Nick Howard, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), discovered the true lineage of the Honeycrisp apple.

With NIFA support from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), Howard's research confirmed that Honeycrisp is the child of the Keepsake variety and an unreleased University of Minnesota selection, MN1627. While MN1627 is no longer available, Howard was able to trace the grandparents, Duchess of Oldenburg and Golden Delicious, connecting the Honeycrisp to many cultivars of worldwide significance.

The discovery of the Honeycrisp’s true pedigree reveals the genetic underpinning of its crisp texture which can lead to the development of even better apples.

Read more about the Honeycrisp genealogy research.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products;
Agriculture systems and technology
U.S. States and Territories
Minnesota
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