Cavendish bananas are at risk of extinction due to a fungal illness that is now sweeping the globe. There are over a thousand different types of bananas, but the Cavendish banana (aka Musa acuminata) accounts for around 47% of all bananas consumed by humans. The Panama disease, also known as Fusarium wilt tropical race 4, is the official name of the ailment. The TR4 infection begins in the roots of the banana tree and then spreads throughout the plant, eventually interfering with the banana tree’s capacity to take up water or engage in photosynthesis. As a direct consequence of this, the tree will ultimately perish.
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[…] It has spread to India and China, the world’s largest producers of bananas. It has also spread to the Middle East and Africa and very recently was found in South America, explained James Dale, a professor and leader of the banana biotechnology program at Queensland University of Technology.
At the Taiwan Banana Research Institute, one of the other teams is attempting to use natural selection in their experiment. The group treats Cavendish seedlings with TR4 and then observes the results. The very small number of seedlings that perform the best in subsequent tests are then used in subsequent research in an effort to ultimately assist the Cavendish in evolving naturally into something immune to TR4 without the need for genetic manipulation.
However, others believe that the most effective approach to solving the issue would be for farmers to entirely change their methods of producing bananas and to cease cultivating just one kind of fruit altogether.
There is some hope for the bananas’ future.
According to the findings of experts, the actual solution is to mass manufacture and market more than one kind of banana. This is due to the fact that the greater the genetic diversity of bananas, the less probable it is that they would be vulnerable to illnesses. On the other hand, here’s the thing: Since bananas cannot be kept in freezers for extended periods of time like apples can, the introduction of a more diverse selection of bananas would not only result in an increase in prices but would also necessitate a significant rethinking of how we transport bananas.
It is possible that the past will inevitably repeat itself, and in the not-too-distant future, Cavendish will never be the banana of choice again. That would be such a terrible turn of events.
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