Imagine the world without bananas!
The world?s most popular fruit and the fourth most important food crop is in deep trouble as its genetic base has collapsed.Updated: May 15, 2006 16:41 IST
The world’s most popular fruit and the fourth most important food crop is in deep trouble as its genetic base — the wild bananas and traditional varieties cultivated in India, has collapsed, scientists have warned. Imagine a future with no bananas!
Virtually all bananas traded internationally are of a single variety — the Cavendish — the genetic roots of which lie in India. The Cavendish crop has been threatened by pandemics of diseases such as that caused by the black sigatoka fungus, the New Scientist reported in its latest issue.
The main hope for survival of the variety lies in developing new hybrids resistant to the fungus, but this is a difficult and time-consuming task because the seedless modern fruit does not reproduce sexually and has to be bred from cuttings, the report said.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned that wild banana species are rapidly going extinct. Save the bananas’ gene pool!
First Published: May 15, 2006 14:33 IST