Friday, October 28, 2016

More on the coming banana crisis

While we know from a recent report that the world's vertebrate populations are declining markedly, a more pressing need is still a potential crisis: the banana.

Can science save the banana?

(The article above has lots of links to other articles and info; the links have been excised in the text below.)
Cavendish is also now under attack from a recently emerged strain of Fusarium oxysporum, known as Tropical Race 4 (TR4). First identified in the early 1990s in Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia, TR4 has since spread to many Southeast Asian countries and on into the Middle East and Africa. If TR4 makes it to Latin America and the Caribbean region, the export banana industry in that part of the world could be in big trouble.

Cavendish varieties have shown little if any resistance against TR4. Growers are relying on temporary solutions – trying to prevent it from entering new regions, using clean planting materials and limiting the transfer of potentially infected soil between farms.
So now we look to science -- in this case, finding disease resistant genes in wild bananas, and splicing them into the commercial varieties, studying how the disease is transferred, and studying how it infects plants. Will it work?  Time will tell.

Science to the rescue. So why can't we give science full rein to attack the climate change crisis?

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