Crop Biotech Update

International Team Sequences Banana Genome

July 13, 2012

An international team led by scientists in France has sequenced and started analyzing the draft genome of the banana species Musa acuminata using a combination of sequencing strategies. The team explored the plant's evolutionary history and relationships to other plants using the 523 million base draft genome sequence generated from a doubled-haploid M. acuminata banana plant.

According to the team that includes members of the Global Musa Genomics Consortium, 91% of the genome has been sequenced and 92% of the predicted 36,542 genes positioned on the chromosomes. Angelique D'Hont, head of the genome structure and evolution group at the French Agricultural Research Centre for Development, said, "this is a high-quality reference sequence that should be a huge boost for banana researchers."

In their study, the scientists focused on a doubled-haploid banana accession known as Pahang, generated by culturing a wild M. acuminata plant from the Malaccensis sub-species. The wild plant's haploid genome is found in the widely cultivated triploid banana plant called Cavendish whose somaclones account for around half of the bananas produced today. Aside from generating sequences of banana streak virus, the team's sequence data also offered insights into banana fruit ripening.

The news release about this new development is available at http://www.promusa.org/tiki-view_blog_post.php?postId=173/. Access to the sequencing data is available at http://banana-genome.cirad.fr/.