Freeing the banana

Well, that sounds teasingly intriguing. Fortunately, we have a mole at the relevant symposium of the International Horticultural Congress in Brisbane. Here’s his brief report from the trenches:

Great talk also by Pierre Yves Teycheney, who together with his colleagues at CIRAD seems to have found a way to deal with the problem of the endogenous Banana Streak Virus that is embedded in the Musa B-genome. Since its discovery this virus had essentially brought to a halt CIRAD’s inter-specific hybrid breeding program, and prevented distribution of any hybrid materials that contained the B-genome. Luckily, an allelic difference was detected that renders the virus non-infectious, so researchers at CIRAD managed to develop B-genome materials (through traditional approaches but also doubled haploids) that are homozygous for the non-infections alleles and ‘voila!’ derived non-infectious material is now again flowing through CIRAD’s interspecific hybrid breeding program!

Keep it coming, people!

2 Replies to “Freeing the banana”

  1. The only B-genome material homozygous for all known non-infectious eBSV alleles that is currently available is one type of Musa balbisiana. While it’s true that this wild species, which donated the B genome, can now be used in breeding schemes, it’s not case of all the cultivars that have the B genome. CIRAD scientists tested the ones in their collection and found that they all have at least one infectious eBSV allele. On the other hand, it is possible that the integrated sequences in some of these are degenerated, making them safe for breeding. One example is ‘Kunnan’ mentioned in a piece on the CIRAD breeder Frederic Bakry

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