Banana’s Genes Unpeeled: Will It Help Save the Banana?
2012-07-19 0:00

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

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night. A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked. The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough. Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield. Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
More News »