Biotech Updates

Newly Discovered Banana Ripening Genes

April 24, 2009

Scientist from the Department of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce, Volcani Center, Israel, the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, New York and the University of the Philippines Los Baños were able to successfully isolate and analyze another gene involved in the developmental control of ripening in banana. Named as MaMADS2, the gene cloned from the cDNA of ripe banana fruit, was found to have DNA sequences similar with Type II MADS-box transcription factors. MADS-box gene transcription factors are regulating genes which controls flower development and organogenesis.

Promoter region analysis showed the presence of known binding sites for MADS-box, hinting at possible autoregulation of MaMADS2 gene transcription. The expression of MaMADS2 starts before the onset of ripening in both pulp and peel of banana with increased expression at low humidity – a response to stress resulting in developmental shift and early ripening. On the other hand, a known MaMADS1 expression is ethylene induced and increases only after the ethylene peak was attained. This is the first report on MaMADS2 gene from banana which could provide critical information in the development of research strategies in prolonging the shelf-life of banana.

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