Cider Apple Hunt


A big thank you to all those who sent in apple leaf samples; we received 824 samples before the deadline of 2nd October. All these samples have now been analysed and their 'fingerprints' compared with those we hold in our apple database. To find out whether we have been able to identify your sample(s), click the 'Cider Apple Hunt' button from the top menu, above.

Please note, leaf samples that arrived after the deadline are being kept in our freezers until we find time to carry out further analysis.

Apple Research

As part of our ongoing research, based at the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, we have developed a genotyping system (a system similar to that used for human DNA fingerprinting) which can rapidly and easily identify apple varieties. With help from John Thatcher of Thatcher’s Cider in Somerset, Liz Copas (the last pomologist employed at the University’s Long Ashton Research Centre which closed in 2003), the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent, and several small, local orchards we have created a database of over 2,500 apple 'fingerprints'.

Accurate identification of named varieties in germplasm collections is extremely important, especially for vegetatively propagated cultivars which are expensive to maintain. Thus, an inexpensive, reliable and rapid genotyping method is essential because it avoids the need for laborious and time-consuming morphological comparisons. Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) marker panels containing large numbers of SNPs have been developed for many crop species, but such panels are much too large for basic cultivar identification. Here, we have identified a minimum number of SNP markers sufficient to distinguish apple cultivars held in the English and Welsh national collections providing a cheaper and automatable alternative to the markers currently used by the community.

The data available from this site is based on two studies carried out at by the Functional Genomics Group at the University of Bristol, UK. These data have be published in the folloing article: