April 29, 2019
Panama disease is a fungal infection that is threatening the US$44 billion banana industry. All bananas are clones, making them virtually genetically identical, which makes them particularly susceptible to disease. They are clones because modern bananas carry three sets of each chromosome in each cell (humans have two) which makes them sterile. Because they can not produce on their own seeds it means that it is more difficult for scientists to try and breed new disease resistant bananas in traditional ways. Scientists suggest they may need to use genetic modification to try and save the bananas from extinction; by adding two genes to Cavendish bananas they may be able to protect the plants from infection.
Source: The Conversation
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