New research by scientists in the United States may significantly reduce the time it takes to tell if an apple tree will grow to be a (more productive) dwarf and be disease resistant and so worth preserving.

Plant geneticist Genarro Fazio and plant biologist H. Todd Holleran, based in Geneva, New York, have developed gene mapping tools to discover inherited dwarf genes in apple tree roots.

Their findings can allow researchers to find molecular markings that identify dwarfs as well as negative disease weakness traits within those varieties. Currently, it takes around thirty years to evaluate a tree for both dwarfism and disease resistance but the new research may half the time.