The second story in the news today that brings to light ongoing research on the genetic make-up of foods looks at how genetic fingerprinting could help produce juicier cherries.
A report on Ananova.com reveals that so many varieties of the fruit are grown that farmers often have to wait up to four years before they know which type they possess. Scientists in Spain, according to the story, are now able to tell the trees apart within days by looking at their genetic make-up.
Lead researcher Ignacio Hormaza from the Unidad de Fruticultura in Zaragoza, Spain, and his team investigated the buds and leaves of cherry trees, focusing on DNA regions called microsatellites.
Of the 80 types of sweet cherry analysed the tests were able to identify those which had ancient origins in the north of Europe and those from the south.
The scientists claim that this supports the idea that growers originally selected local trees with exceptional fruit which were adapted to the northern or southern climate.
Breeders now hope to use the technique to create varieties that fruit earlier and produce better quality cherries.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and reported by science journal Nature.