I thought it would be interesting to talk about fruit tree cultivars that are presumed to be bud sport mutations.
The age is now upon us when researchers could actually compare the genome of the original and bud sport and understand the function of the genes that had been altered. It seems like the universities looking for a summer research project for their interns could find this topic to be “low hanging fruit.” Here would be my list of cultivars that are bud sports of interest:
Steindorf Blenheim - flowers and fruits 30 days later than Blenheim. Originated on a Blenheim tree so whatever difference makes it do that was only one gene (presumably). This cultivar is really interesting - how does one mutation make it shift its photoperiod by 30 days? I have fruited this in my yard and it was amazing.
Smith Red Valencia - it is curious how a mutation gets this Valencia orange to express anthocyanins in its fruit. Mine has not fruited yet.
Redsweet apricot - reputed to be another budsport of Blenheim, but red, and has some plum characteristics, which was expressed to me by a grower. Another Blenheim grower in Hollister reported getting a red sport of Blenheim so apparently Blenheim has it in itself to do that. It would be interesting if the gene for Redsweet turns out to be the same as the gene for Smith’s Red Valencia.
Broken Heart plum - from Elephant heart, but incomplete and variable color. This one is probably easier to understand, as a mutation that caused incomplete expression of color. I grow it in my yard, I had grafted it out of curiosity more than anything but it really is an amazing plum.
Tropic Gold apricot - this is reported to have originated as a sport of Blenheim, though the origin is more obscure. They just found a tree that seemed like Blenheim except it fruited more consistently in low chill areas. It would be interesting to see how it differs from Blenheim in its actual DNA. I suspect it is just the same as Blenheim. But if it really is better adapted to low chill, then the mutation that made this happen would be of interest.
Those are the bud sports I grow. Are there other cultivars you grow that originated as bud sports? I doubt academics read our site but it would be neat if a listing of bud sports one day led to uncovering of the genetic basis of these traits.