Scientists have submitted Australia’s first genetically modified fruit – a Cavendish banana – to regulators for approval. The fruit has been engineered to withstand a deadly fungus that poses a threat to banana growers worldwide. The banana, known as QCAV-4, has been genetically modified to resist Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4), which is threatening the multibillion-dollar Cavendish industry globally.
If approved, the banana would become Australia’s first GM fruit to be approved for cultivation and consumption, as well as the first GM banana to be approved worldwide.
According to Prof James Dale of the Queensland University of Technology, who led QCAV-4’s development, the GM variety offered a safety net for growers in the event that the Australian industry was wiped out by TR4.