How is it that, given the progress we have made in agriculture, it is possible that bananas will soon be extinct?

The funny thing is that we can actually save the Cavendish banana through progress.

I see all the other answers that have a bit about the background, I do not know to what extent it is sensible to go into the details, but:

Wild bananas are not edible for humans, because they have too many seeds and fibers.From a cross between these wild species is sometimes a sterile hybrid, just as a mule is a sterile hybrid between a horse and donkey. This hybrid has no seeds, and could not exist in the wild. But for people he is all the more tastier, and they get it out of the wild and go and grow it.

Wild Banana:

Because the seeds are lacking, this can only be increased by cuttings or root splitting.

This makes it all clones of each other, with the same genetic material. So if one is sensitive to a fungus, all the banana plants are. Now there is a fungus called the Panama disease, which threatens the current commercial banana breed, the Cavendish. Another form of this disease has already expel the first popular banana, the Gros Michel, out of the trade.

And at the moment there is no good alternative to the Cavendish.It is also difficult to grow a resistant banana, because they are all cloned. It is very difficult to introduce new genetic material. But, there are hundreds of banana varieties, and they are not all susceptible to Panama disease for a long time!Why don’t we use it? Well, the Cavendish has a firm peel, and does not quickly get butted during transport, it also matures slowly and is therefore ideal for transport over longer distances. And it is these qualities that we have not yet found a good alternative to.

Banana Varieties:

But, there are new techniques which make it much easier now to improve the banana, namely gene modification, gene editing and gene splicing.

One can introduce DNA from resistant banana varieties in the Cavendish, or import the qualities of the Cavendish into a resistant breed.

The big banana growers are not alone… Because they expect it will not be popular with the consumer.Indeed, there is a large anti-CMO movement, and the Bananencode operations find it too risky to invest in varieties grown with these techniques. That’s why the Cavendish hasn’t been saved yet.

Before 1955 you had the Gross Michelle bananas, which according to many were a lot tastier than our current, Cavendish bananas.Unfortunately, the Gross Michelle is almost nowhere to be found, as good as extinct.

Bananas for consumption no longer originate from seeds, which you also almost no longer find inside the banana.In baking bananas you see them. But like the Gross Michelle of yesteryear, all Cavendish bananas are genetically the same. The Gross Michelle Banana plant suffered worldwide from a certain fungus that made the plant practically extinct on a large scale. The Cavendish banana could be just the same waiting. Then it is as good as last for ‘ our ‘ Banaantje in a short time.

In horticulture You see a lot of monoculture, i.e. that all plants are genetically the same.A disease that can make one of these plants ill can not, in a very short time, eradicate whole crops worldwide. The grower and the consumer have then too much bet on ‘ the same horse ‘. Genetic diversity simply enjoys great preference if you want to keep a kind of more resilient to diseases.

Once I hope to travel to Indonesia, my father in law lives there, and looking to go to the Pisang Embon Putih, or the Gross Michelle.. According to some older ‘ lucky ones ‘, this banana was sweeter and more buttersome in flesh than the current bananas.Tastier.. 🙂

Because farmed bananas do not reproduce normally, but by passing and cuttings are multiplied.As a result, farmed bananas do not have genetic diversity and can die massively because of fungal diseases. In particular, the French researcher Emile Frison warns against the risk of lack of genetic diversity of banana banana Lab opens in Uganda .

The Cavendish banana is most appreciated, so all the plantations have Cavendish bananas.If they appear to be comprehensible to one or another disease, we will have to live without bananas, but in Asia many other types of bananas are growing in the less-or-more wild, so there is a choice to multiply and the plantations Replant.

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