THE EFFECT OF BANANA BREEDING ON THE DIVERSITY OF EAST AFRICAN HIGHLAND BANANA (MUSA, AAA)
Banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are a major food and cash crop for millions of people in tropical and subtropical countries. Cultivated banana is affected by a number of diseases and pests. Genetic improvement of the crop has resulted in the development of a number of hybrids. However, these hybrids have been derived from limited Musa germplasm. Modern plant breeding is considered to reduce crop diversity although new molecular data appear to refute this idea. Variation in Musa is hypothesised to have arisen mainly from mutations, though a number of other mechanisms could be involved, such as somaclonal variation, transposable element activity, new genome combinations, polyploidy, genome duplications, mitotic recombination and recombination of novel alleles. In this paper, we demonstrate that banana breeding schemes that cross wild diploids with genetically uniform landraces increases the genetic diversity of East African highland banana. Banana breeding programmes have a greater opportunity of supplying small-scale farmers with a range of genotypes that would help to maintain the current diversity observed in farmers fields.
Nyine, M. and Pillay, M. (2011). THE EFFECT OF BANANA BREEDING ON THE DIVERSITY OF EAST AFRICAN HIGHLAND BANANA (MUSA, AAA). Acta Hortic. 897, 225-229