Field of Science

Yes, we'll have no bananas

This is a rather depressing report on the spread of a blight that threatens bananas, worldwide!  This may not seem particularly important to some people, but in many tropical areas bananas are a starchy staple and important part of their diets on a par with potatoes for those of us in the northern temperate zone.  The root of the problem is that bananas, at least the widely planted varieties, are based on a limited genetic base.  As the report points out, this will make it easy for this plant disease to spread.  Everyone knows that basing a crop on a limited genetic base is dangerous, but it seems it takes a disaster or near disaster to get a breeding program going.  HT to AoB blog. 


Boyang said...

Doesn't that apply only to Cavendish, the dominant commercial breed? I thought bananas used as staple food are genetically very diverse and more resistant to diseases.

The Phytophactor said...

Basically, that's true, your familiar banana is in big trouble. A lot of the starchy bananas are much less susceptible. Thanks.