Scientists Race to Save Bananas from Panama DiseaseApril 24, 2019
Since its discovery in the 1800s, Fusarium Wilt or Panama disease has been a global threat to the banana industry, wiping out entire plantations in Asia, Australia, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The economic impact of the disease has been catastrophic, with losses reaching US$18.2 billion to date.
One of the major breakthroughs in the industry was the discovery of another variety of banana, known as the Cavendish. This variety was almost entirely resistant to Panama disease. Currently, 99% of exported bananas and about half of the total production worldwide are Cavendish bananas. However, the Panama disease has made a comeback, and not even the Cavendish is immune.
Scientists now turn to modern biotechnology to create a new plant resistant to Panama disease. Genetic modification in particular, is seen as a possible solution to protect the plants from Tropical Race 4 or TR4, the strain of fungus that appeared in Taiwan in the early 2000s.
For instance, researchers from Australia have discovered that adding two different genes — from a wild banana resistant to TR4 and another one from nematode worms — to the genetic code of Cavendish bananas protects the plants from TR4. Meanwhile, a team from Taiwan has already produced a Cavendish line which can somewhat withstand TR4. Another study shows evidence that some crops can defend bananas against TR4.
For more details, read the news article in The Conversation.
Biotech Updates is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a not-for-profit organization. It is distributed for free to over 22,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Scientists Race to Save Bananas from Panama Disease
- Researchers Use Order Theory to Show the Connection Between CO2 Emission and GM Crops
- Scientists Discover Ways to Regenerate Plant Tissues
- Japanese Health Ministry Finalizes Policy on Genome-Edited Food Products
- Australian OGTR Grants Permit to GM Wheat Field Trial
- Knowing How Cells Grow and Divide Leads to More Robust and Productive Plants
- LncRNA Controls Susceptibility to Cry1Ac in Pink Bollworm
- Salt Tolerant Rice Variety Developed in India
Beyond Crop Biotech
- NTU Researchers Genetically Modify Key Protein in Plants to Increase Seed Oil Yield
- Scientists Explore Consumer Response to Health Information Campaigns and Genetically Modified Food Labels
- CRISPRcon 2019
- CBU Subscriber Survey
- Simple Method for Rapid Screening of CRISPR-Cas9-Induced Mutants
- Experts Release Protocol for Creating Large Chromosomal Deletions in Rice Using CRISPR-Cas9
Read the latest:
- Biotech Updates (March 22, 2023)
- Genome Editing Supplement (March 22, 2023)
- Gene Drive Supplement (February 22, 2023)
Subscribe to BU: