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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists to Test GE Bananas Resistant to TR4 in the Northern Territory, Australia

February 15, 2017

Australia's gene technology regulator approved the five-year test planting of biotech bananas in the Northern Territory. The research is being conducted by Prof. James Dale and other scientists from the Queensland University of Technology.

The researchers will test 200 transgenic lines of Cavendish bananas on more than 6 hectares in the Litchfield region. The main objective of the test is to come up with a variety with maximum resistance to Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4), which is a common fungal disease attacking bananas in the Northern Territory since 2015. According to Prof. Dale, the initial results of their study show that there are lines exhibiting complete resistance to the disease. He also mentioned that there are no genetically engineered bananas commercialized in Australia to date. However, if the Panama disease becomes widespread, it will be their responsibility to work until the GE banana will be deregulated in Australia to help the banana growers.

For more details, read the articles in Fruit Net and ABC Rural.