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Banana genome sequence – a major achievement

   

A 10-year research project to sequence one of the founding genomes of cultivated bananas, Musa acuminata, is now complete.  The research – published in Nature – was carried out by the French International Research Centre (CIRAD) and the French National Sequencing Centre (Genoscope), within the framework of the Global Musa Genomics Consortium.

 

“The publication of the sequence of the banana genome is a major achievement for a crop that is still neglected by research, despite being a staple food and a vital source of income for hundreds of millions of people in the tropics,” says Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International.  The genetic information revealed by the sequencing project will help scientists exploit the crop diversity, such as resistance to pests, diseases and droughts, which is becoming increasingly urgent as climatic changes threaten food security and livelihoods for poor rural communities in the banana-producing regions.

 

Mathieu Rouard, Bioversity International, who contributed analyses and is one of the co-authors of the published paper, explains: “Scientists now have the template that will make future sequencing of other varieties quicker and more cost effective to carry out.” This work also opens up the opportunity of re-sequencing the accessions held at the Bioversity Musa Germplasm Transit Centre, the world’s largest collection of banana germplasm.

 

 

Photo: Peeling bananas under a tree, Uganda - Credit: Bioversity International/P. Sands