Chinese researchers have suggested genetic engineering to develop bananas that will be resistant to Fusarium wilt, while maintaining the crop's yield capacity. The proposal provides an option for banana breeders to produce an elite variety to address the global threat of the disease.
The scientists recognize the fact that it is difficult to develop new banana varieties by conventional breeding methods, thus they have turned their attention to genetic engineering for more precision to produce a variety resistant to the disease with the desired agronomic traits of the banana.
The researchers do recognise the challenge of breeding a Fusarium-resistant banana without affecting the crop's yield trait, as previous banana varieties resistant to the disease tended to produce less yield as compared to those that are non-resistant.
By using genetic engineering, the genes associated with the Fusarium wilt resistance and the important agronomic traits can easily be identified, assessed, and utilized in target breeding programs. Furthermore, a highly efficient and stable genetic transformation method can be developed using genetic engineering. Genomic studies of banana varieties can help investigate the molecular mechanisms of the banana's immune response and determine the relationship between disease resistance and yield at the genomic level.
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