New research explains why the strawberries of today looked different in the past.
You’re probably most familiar with this type of strawberry: the plump, juicy Fragaria ananassa, also known as the garden strawberry.
In the grand scheme of history, this hybrid species actually hasn’t been around that long.
It came to fruition when two species were crossbred in the 18th century, after hundreds of years of cultivation.
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences pins down a timeline for the evolution of the Fragaria genus — and reveals a new species.
It can be tough to distinguish between wild strawberry varieties with the naked eye.
This is why researchers needed the help of gene sequencing to pinpoint this species’ differences.
Li Xue and Jiajun Lei
“In Fragaria, the lack of many distinguishing phenotypic features between different species makes classification difficult.”
But the evolution of the strawberry is a relatively unexplored subject. The existence of this new species informs our overall understanding of this favorite fruit — and suggets there’s still more to learn.