Banana’s Genes Unpeeled: Will It Help Save the Banana?
2012 07 19

By Emily Sohn | DiscoveryNews

The long-awaited sequencing of the banana genome might help save the yellow fruit from imminent collapse.

Bananas are a staple food around the world. But the humble yellow fruit faces pests and diseases that threaten to wipe it out across the globe, from convenience stores in Iowa to rural markets in Uganda.

In an effort to save bananas from imminent demise, scientists have now sequenced the banana genome for the first time, a challenging feat and a major advance in the field.

The accomplishment opens the way for developing better banana crops that are naturally resilient against parasites and other stresses.

“The banana is very important, especially for tropical and subtropical countries,” said Angélique D’Hont, a geneticist at CIRAD, an agricultural research center in Montpelier, France. “Because the future of the banana is in danger, the sequence will help to produce resistant bananas and avoid the utilization of pesticides. It will be much easier now to identify genes which are important.”


A commercial dessert banana from the seedless Cavendish cultivar in comparison with a typical banana from a wild fertile ancestor such as the one that as been sequenced.


Bananas were first domesticated 7,000 years ago in Southeast Asia. As people migrated, and crossed their own plants with other species along the way, bananas gradually became seedless, delicious and totally sterile.

Instead of multiplying through sexual reproduction, which mixes up the gene pool, bananas are cultivated through vegetative propagation, which involves simply cutting off a section of one plant to grow on its own. It’s the same process used to grow several other major African crops, including cassava, sweet potatoes and yams.

As a result, every single Cavendish banana -- the variety that makes up about half of all bananas eaten around the world -- is an exact clone of every other Cavendish banana.

The shape, color and flavor of these popular fruits are predictable and consistent. But parasites and diseases have adapted to the Cavendish, D’Hont said, making it necessary to use large amounts of pesticides to keep banana crops from collapsing -- up to 50 applications a year in some places.


[...]


Read the full article at: discovery.com






Do You Want A Banana?






Related Articles
More fruits and veggies can help smokers quit: Study
Fruit juice targeted in the war on obesity - "Juice the same as soda"
Beauty in a Bowl? Eating Fruits and Veggies May Improve Skin Tone
Foreclosure Fruits: At Vacant Homes, Foraging for Food
Natural Homemade Pesticides: Recipes & Tips
UN warns of global collapse due to pesticides; Agenda 21 is pushed as solution
The "Dirty Dozen": Pesticide Levels in Foods


Latest News from our Front Page

Pre-historic tokens used in conjunction with cuneiform
2014 07 22
An archaeological dig in southeast Turkey has uncovered a large number of clay tokens that were used as records of trade until the advent of writing, or so it had been believed. But a new find of tokens, dates from a time when writing was commonplace – thousands of years after it was previously assumed this technology had become obsolete. Researchers ...
Are immigration opponents Nazis?
2014 07 22
It seems the usual suspects are calling anyone who opposes unlimited immigration to be a "Nazi". The Left seems to be in constant fear of "Nazis" that lurk in public policy discussions and I assume under their beds. If you oppose any Leftist position, you are a.... take a wild guess...wait for it.... a NAZI! Tim Wise recently went ...
What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?
2014 07 22
Exclusive: The U.S. media’s Ukraine bias has been obvious, siding with the Kiev regime and bashing ethnic Russian rebels and Russia’s President Putin. But now – with the scramble to blame Putin for the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down – the shoddy journalism has grown truly dangerous, says Robert Parry. In the heat of the U.S. media’s latest war hysteria – rushing to ...
Oh, Great: Robots Are Set to Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews
2014 07 22
Advancing a career in the US government might soon require an interview with a computer-generated head who wants to know about that time you took ketamine. Psychologists at the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA) are developing an interview system that uses a responsive on-screen avatar for the first stage of the national security clearance process. Initial screening for a variety ...
Is Anything on the Internet Real Anymore?
2014 07 22
Is there anybody…out there? I promise I’m a real person asking this question and typing this article…but beyond that, I can’t promise much else about anything you or I see on the Internet. This article on ZDNet, “GCHQ’s dark arts: Leaked documents reveal online manipulation, Facebook, YouTube snooping,” confirms — beyond a shadow of any possible doubt — that a barrage of ...
More News »