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Restoration of Initial Aport Apple Properties


Revival of the Unique Variety of the Aport Apple Tree by Means of Selection of Wilding – Grafting and Method of Micro-Cloning Multiplication of the Best Genetic Types

Tech Area / Field

  • AGR-FOD/Food & Nutrition/Agriculture
  • BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Kazak State Agriculture University, Kazakstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • The Republican Government Enterprise on the basic of economic control rights “Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems” , Kazakstan, Gvardeiski


  • Washington State University, USA, WA, Pullman\nKyoto University, Japan, Kyoto

Project summary

Once Almaty aport apple variety was very famous all over the world. It was awarded "Golden Medals" at many International exhibitions. Aport was a symbol of Almaty, pride of Kazakhstan people. It is very difficult to find a competitor in previous and present world assortment of apples in beautiful look, fruits, and especially in amazing flavour. Some fruits were of 500-600 gr. ( there are evident that they reached 1200 gr.,) , some trees could give 500-700 kg., it was a record. So, it was a king of the apples.

People say that in 1972 a well known USA senator Edward Kennedy visited Almaty. When he saw and tried aport he said: "I have visited a lot of countries of the world but never have seen such wonderful apples". ( Journal "Prostor", N7, 1998). As it was written in a newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda" (June 4 1999) Almaty aport was a delicious meal in Kremlin. But regretfully, we can speak about Almaty aport in past tense. Now aport fruits became small, its appearance worsened and it lost its taste and flavour.

What had happened to aport today? Is it lost? Can it be restored? Many people of our country ask such a question.

A matter of the fate of aport appeared a long time ago. In 70-80th the first leader of the Republic D.A.Kunaev arised this matter. His famous words were: "We will restore the fame of Almaty aport" and they are urgent today as well (newspaper “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, 4.06. 1999). The present president N.Nazarbaev also cares about the fate of the famous variety (newspaper “Egemen Kazakhstan”, 23. 10. 1996. Journals “Prostor” N7, 1998, “Zhuldyz”, N6, 1999 and others). The rescue of aport from complete degradation and restoration of its fame is a matter of governmental significance.

However economical hardship of the country conditioned by the transition period prevents funding from the state budget for the solution of this problem. Therefore ISTC subsidising of this important project is necessary in the framework of the international co-operation. It is necessary to realise that if we don’t save aport today it will be late tomorrow as the last female trees- the genetic base of the variety, are perishing.

For the implementation of the project on restoration of the former fame of aport it is necessary to know the reasons that have lead to its degradation . We have identified many reasons that resulted in deterioration of aport. There are several reasons that lead to the degradation of aport. We can mention some of them.

1. One of main reasons of aport deterioration is wrong reproduction. The mistake is that the samples with good growth were taken as female trees for preparation of the grafts, despite the yield, especially the quality of the fruits.

2. The production of wilding and seed material was not properly done. Not all the forms of wild apple are the same as wilding for aport, that was not taken into consideration in seed preparation.

3. In conditions of Zaili Alatau the zone of ecological optimum of aport where it realises all its biological potential is in the limits of heights of 950-1250 m above the sea level from which it was supplanted by other crops.

4. High quality aport fruits are formed only on mountain black soils, but on foothills on chestnut soils. However under the orchards not the best soils were taken: planned sites, terrace sharp slopes.

5. Aport is water using variety. 2-3 irrigation per vegetation that were practised in kolchoses lead to decrease of the productivity of the orchards and deterioration of the fruits. The observations show that without 7-8 irrigation there will be no good yield of aport.

6. The important element of variety agro-technique that improves the quality of aport fruits is turf-humus system. However it was severely violated, as the grass was prepared for feeding livestock instead of leaving it in the orchard as organic matter saving soil moisture.

7. Aport needs space for growth. However from years 50-60 it was planted on scheme 8x6 m, 8x3 m, that lead to deterioration of the quality of the fruits caused by the low level of photosynthesis. People’s experience shows that aport must be planted on scheme 10x8 m, 10x9 m.

8. The conditions of growing seedlings are important. They must grow in the zone of ecological optimum of aport. Before those conditions were not followed and aport was with negative deviations.

9. One of the reasons of deterioration of the variety is virus infection. Dangerous disease of aport is infectional drying up (zitosporos) and fruit decay of various etiology.

10. The role of pollinator is also important. The pollen of many introduced and local varieties is ‘’alien’’, pollination with them can lead to deterioration of the quality of the fruits. The best pollinators for aport are wild apple tree (some forms of Nedzvetski and Sivers) and two-three cultured varieties of the old assortment which are forgotten.

11. The methods of preparing the fruits for storage are also important. After harvesting they must ‘’ripen’’ in natural conditions, for example, under straw.

12. There are some other factors which have negative impact on aport: deterioration of ecology, although it has local impact, out of time cutting of the trees, excessive pesticide application, planting of aport just after the old orchard, as root emission of the old trees have negative impact for this variety, etc.

Thus, actually all the factors that lead to degradation of the variety are of antropogenic character. Therefore the restoration of the former fame of the unique aport variety is feasible and depends on ourselves.

So the aim of the project is the restoration of the quality of aport by creating agroecologic conditions and following special agrotechnique using the existing Know How. The novelty of the project is the selection of the wildings according to the similarity of their genetic code with grafted variety. The project foresees also to restore the initial genotype by micro-cloning of the best clones of the variety and its “ bud options”.

21 researchers will take part in the implementation of the project (Kazakh State University of Agriculture- 11 people; Research Institute of Agriculture- 10 people).

The leading project members:

1. Issin Magzhan Malgezhdarovich - Project Manager, Candidate of Agr. Sc. Docent. He initiated the issue of aport restoration, author of the essay "Aport" (1998), scientific adviser of the film "Aport history", 1986. In July 1999 he made presentation at the International Conference: Strategy of Land Cultivation and Plant Production at the end of XXI century on the theme: “Issues of saving and restoration of aport”, the thesis were published (p.170-171). He conducted research on aport for many years when he was Deputy Director of the Institute for Horticulture and grape production, he was a leader of problem group on aport.

2. Troitsky Evgeny Nikolaevich- Assistant Manager of the project, Candidate of Eng. Sc., ex. Deputy Director of the Research Institute of Agriculture. He will co-ordinate the activities of the project members at this Institute.

3. Iskakov Ajup Rashitovich, Doctor of Biology, one of the leading specialists of Kazakhstan in the field of Plant Biotechnology , had training at Moscow N.I.Vavilov Institute of General Genetics. Familiar with up to date methods of somatic cells culture, he developed methods of soma-clone option. Speaks English.

4. Ajapov Kereidin Zhaksylykovich, Candidate of Agr.Sc., prof.- one of the leading horticulture specialists of the Republic, he knows very good the biology of fruit plants and agrotechnique of fruit orchard. He will supervise agrotechnical experiments on aport restoration.

5. Sotnikov Valery Fedorovich, Candidate of Agr.Sc.- a well known horticulture specialist he know very good the issues of nursery production (agrotechnical methods, inoculation technique, multiplication methods etc.), the routes of future expeditions in Zaili and Zhungar Alatau, Tarbagatai mountains.

6. Tuleuov Zhaskairat Tuleuovich, Candidate of Biology, first Virusology specialist in Kazakhstan on fruit plants, who had training abroad. He assimilated methods of obtaining virus free plantings of aport by thermo-therapy method.

7. Zaitsev Valentin Lukjanovich- Candidate of Biol. Sc., leading specialist in the field of molecular Biology and genetics, up-to-date methods of gen engineering, electronic microscopy.

8. Savinkov Alexadr Philippovich- Candidate of Agr.Sc. Leading specialist in the field of Phytopathology, studyes Physiology and Biochemistry of fungi- causing diseases. of storage of fruits and grape. When he was a Head of the Storage Department he supervised the works on technology of storage including aport storage.

In the process of project implementation the real (typical) aport seedling will be obtained and experimental-demonstrational orchard will be planted in various options on one agrotechnical background. The first yield of the orchard will show if the former quality of aport is restored.

The solution of the problem of aport restoration in this project is very important.

a) The restored aport is a wonderful breeding and genetic material and its inclusion into the world process of hybridazation will enable to breed the unique apple varieties, which fruits will be not worse than the parents.

b) The principles of the scientific and methodological approaches applied in restoration of aport(know how) can be then used for saving and restoration of the other valuable varieties and sorts of agricultiral crops.

c) The research on comparing the genetic codes of various species and forms of local wild apple and aport will clarify the matter of aport origin, which is disputable. Further work in this direction will enrich the study of N.I.Vavilov about the centres of the origin of the crops, in this particular case of cultural apple.

d) The restored aport will become a currency commodity. It will become the main variety in Kazakhstan horticulture and as in early times will take 80% of the area of orchards in Almaty oblast. Export of aport fruits in perspective will be the main source of income in Almaty oblast.

This project enhances the implementation of the ISTC aims: on re-orientation of the activity of the researchers who worked before in the field of armament to peaceful purposes. Its participant is the research agricultural Institute (Otar settlement), which worked for a long time within the system of the Ministry of Defence of the former Soviet Union. Now the staff of this Institute within this project will deal with some matters of molecular biology and agricultural phyto pathology. In the process of the work it is planned to have joint researches with foreign collaborators (Washington and Kyoto Universities), exchange of genetic base of aport with the researchers of Kyrgyzstan and Russia. So, ISTC enhances the integration of the researchers of NIS into the International scientific community. As aport is a National pride of Kazakhstan and currency commodity ISTC will enhance the solution of national issues and support the transition to market economy.

The project foresees a big volume of work. Expedition researches will be undertaken to find and select the best apple clones, select the necessary varieties and forms of wild apple in mountain thickets of Zaili and Zhungar Alatau, Tarbagatai mountains. Planting of the seedlings and nursery field. Disinfection the plantings from virus infection by thermo-therapy method. Laboratory researches on study of genetic code of aport and forms of wild apple, study of physiology and biochemistry of the main agents of aport diseases. Planting of the experimental demonstrational aport orchard. Considering above mentioned reasons of aport degradation namely the following:

1. Planting of the orchard in the zone of ecological optimum for aport.

2. Organization of the plot and selection of pollinators.

3. Improvement of soil conditions in the orchard

4. Rational scheme of placing the trees in the orchard.

Other requirements for the variety:

1.Water availability of the trees in the orchard.

2. Creation of turf-humus system.

3. Integrated system of protection of the orchard from harmful organisms.

4. Timely formation of the crown and cutting of the trees.

5. Storing of the fruits with preliminary “ripening”.

All this will be undertaken in the experimental-demonstrational orchard planted on the second phase of activities in the period, preliminary cost of which is about $200000. In subsidizing this second phase of the project will be involved Almaty Akimat, Farmers Associations, interested in having currency commodity, ISTC could be responsible for the certain part of funding could as a founder of the project. Further under the umbrella of ISTC joint projects can be developed on production of aport for export.

So, the activities on aport restoration include two phases:

Phase 1 (three years) - Obtaining of the real (typical) and healthy aport seedling (plant), that is the aim of the project.

The aim of the research includes:

1. To find out and select the typical female aport trees .

2. Selection of the kinds and forms of wild apple tree for seed preparation.

3. Planting of the seedlings and nursery fields.

4. Preparation of the grafts of the typical female aport trees.

5. Improvement of the aport seedlings from virus infection.

6. Micro-cloning multiplication of aport clones, which saved best variety qualities.

7. The same with the best bud options.

8. Comparison of the genetic codes of aport with the codes of various forms of local wild apple tree.

9. Study of the etiology of seedling and fruits disease.

10. Planting of the experimental demonstration orchard with various seedlings with consideration of the reasons that resulted in variety degradation.

Phase 2 (four years)- Provision of special variety agro-technique in the experimental-demonstration orchard that will be funded by the local governmental body. In case if the results of the first project phase will be successful and original, further project activities could be partly funded by ISTC (certain percentage of funding).

Practical aims are as follows:

The role of the foreign collaborators is to provide advisory service in fundamental issues, assimilation of up to date research methods, assessment of our research work on identification of genetic codes, reviewing our reports and publication on the project. Assistance in developing links with the foreign researchers.

Technical approach and methodology of the project should be based on the consideration of those reasons that lead to the degradation of the variety which are mentioned above. Micro-clone reproduction from the best clones and "bud options" is undertaken by method of top meristem, desinfection of the seedlings from virus infection is made by thermo- therapy method. Comparison of the genetic code of aport and various kinds and forms of local wild apple tree with the help of electronic microscopy. Study of aport diseases and their agents is conducted as general methods in micology and phyto-pathology.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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