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.
The Josh Duggar Incident Reveals The Tactics And Hypocrisy of SJWs 2015-05-30 1:46
Last week, In Touch Weekly broke the news that Josh Duggar, eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar from TLCâ€™s 19 Kids and Counting, had molested five under-aged girls in 2002 and 2003. Josh, who was 14 at the time, was accused of fondling his victims, touching their breasts and genitals while they slept.
A police report was released shortly ...
15 More Men of South Asian Descent Charged With Child Sex Offences 2015-05-30 0:42
Police in Keighley, West Yorkshire have charged 14 men and a 16-year-old boy with sex offences including the rape of a girl under the age of 16. The offences relate primarily to one female victim, with one allegation involving a second who was also under 16 at the time.
The offences are alleged to have occurred between 2011 and 2012. In ...
Anti-Semitic fliers left on Chevy Chase driveways 2015-05-29 22:45
Five streets in Chevy Chase, Md., were papered with anti-Semitic fliers on Wednesday morning.
Montgomery County police are looking for the person or people who left the hate-filled leaflets on almost every driveway on the streets.
â€śThis is very disturbing. My community is definitely disturbed,â€ť said Jean Sperling, the village manager of Martinâ€™s Additions, the community where the fliers were found. Sperling ...
German court says ex-SS officer unfit for trial 2015-05-29 22:32
Prosecutors in the northern German city of Hamburg have dropped their probe into a 93-year-old former Nazi SS officer. Gerhard Sommer, who suffers from dementia, allegedly took part in a World War II massacre in Italy.
Gerhard Sommer, a former company commander of a mechanized infantry division, had been accused of participating in the mass murder of 560 civilians by Nazi ...
The Age of Disinformation 2015-05-29 21:56 I have been a professional meteorologist for 36 years. Since my debut on television in 1979, I have been an eyewitness to the many changes in technology, society, and how we communicate. I am one who embraces change, and celebrates the higher quality of life we enjoy now thanks to this progress.
But, at the same time, I realize the instant ...