GM Bananas Expressing Increased Nutrient Contents

Cavendish bananas modified to express increased provitamin A, vitamin E and iron content could be growing in North Australia by next year. Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology have submitted an application for the limited release of the GM bananas to Australia's Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. The transgenic banana lines contain the ferritin (iron storage) gene from wild soybean and genes from rice and Arabidopsis for increased vitamin E contents. Five enzyme-coding genes that mediate carotenoid (precursor of vitamin A) biosynthesis from maize, Arabidopsis, and the bacterium Erwinia will be tested. Up to 1,290 banana lines are proposed for release. The technology will be applied for improving banana varieties in Uganda and other parts of Africa, where nutrient deficiency, especially of vitamin A, are prevalent.

Deatils of the application are available at


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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