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Bye, Bye, Banana?


Sibiriak
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Scientists are racing to reengineer the banana before it’s gone forever

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The banana, as we know it, is in trouble. In August, lab tests in Colombia confirmed that a fungus that destroyed some banana plantations in countries like the Philippines and India had arrived in Latin America, the heart of the world’s banana export economy. The fungus has no cure—and because the bananas available in U.S. stores are cloned and genetically identical, when the disease kills one plant, every other nearby plant is also at risk.

In labs in the U.K. and Australia, researchers are racing to find ways to save one of the world’s most popular fruits before it’s too late. “I think it was an industry consensus that it was only a question of time before the disease reached Latin America,” says Gilad Gershon, CEO of Tropic Biosciences, a startup using gene editing to try to create a version of banana that’s resistant to the disease. [...]

 

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I've been hearing about the demise of the cavendish banana for seemingly decades now. Here's an article from 2014:

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/fungus-threatens-banana-supply-n85971

And many such reports from much earlier. Somehow I still see them everywhere. Personally, I rarely consume bananas as they're really high in calories without correspondingly high nutritional value, but occassionally I'll grab a semi-ripe banana. 

I suspect that years from now we'll still be reading about the imminent demise of the cavendish. Everything old is new again.

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I've been hearing about the demise of the cavendish banana for seemingly decades now. Here's an article from 2014:

 

Well,  the threat could be exaggerated,   but 2014 isn't exactly decades ago.

And the article does state:
 

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For now, the disease has only been found in Colombia—where the government declared a state of emergency and destroyed crops—but it likely won’t be long before it shows up in Ecuador, which grows most of the bananas sold to the U.S. and Europe. “It’s fair to assume that we’re talking probably about a number of years before this spreads throughout Latin America to all the key banana-growing locations.”

 

Just chitchat, anyways.

Edited by Sibiriak
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