Title of Project

Bananas Under Attack

Researcher Information

Farheen F. Parvez

Project Type

Event

Location

Alvin Sherman Library 2053

Start Date

4-4-2003 12:00 AM

End Date

4-4-2003 12:00 AM

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Apr 4th, 12:00 AM Apr 4th, 12:00 AM

Bananas Under Attack

Alvin Sherman Library 2053

The purpose of this literature research is to understand the issues surrounding the possible extinction of bananas by finding a way to stop the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense also known as Fusarium wilt from getting into the vascular tissue of bananas and eventually causing death. Since bananas are sterile and clones of one another they are not as genetically diverse as most species. As a result, a pathogen such as Fusarium oxysporum has a great advantage when its host is a banana. Research on this issue has been in progress for several decades and is still continuing. Bananas with different genotypes have been bred in laboratories in an attempt to create diversity and resistance to the fungus. Gros Michel (a breed of bananas) was susceptible to Fusarium oxysporumand had to be replaced by wilt-resistant Cavendish clones. The Cavendish cultivars were popular and unaffected for a while but are now the victims of Fusarium oxysporum as well. The fungus has been studied extensively around the world. It has been subdivided into four races, with Race 4 being the most common. Genetic markers such as vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs) are used in an attempt to determine which cultivars fall into different VCGs. If fungi belong to the same VCGs, exchange of genetic information can occur. Contrarily, if the fungi are incompatible, they are genetically isolated. Along with the continuous research on Fusarium oxysporum, scientists are attempting to find different ways to breed bananas and save them from extinction. Techniques such as genetic recombination, modification of diverse triploid genotypes, and production of new triploid recombinants are being developed.