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Farmers are allowed to grow genetically modified bananas

Farmers are allowed to grow genetically modified bananas

In Australia and New Zealand, farmers can grow genetically modified bananas that are resistant to a devastating fungal disease.

For the first time, genetically modified bananas have been approved for cultivation on farms. Regulators in Australia and New Zealand have given permission Adapted strain of Cavendish banana for commercial cultivation. The strain is resistant to a devastating fungal disease that has spread to many countries around the world.

On February 16, Food Standards Australia approved New Zealand bananas Good as food. The agency concluded that processed bananas are just as safe and nutritious as regular bananas.

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Australia and New Zealand's food ministers can request a review of the decision within the next 60 days. If they do not, the approval is final.

Panama disease

Gros Michel was the first banana to be widely eaten in the West. In the 1950s, it spread PusariumTropical race 1 (TR1), a fungal strain that causes Panama disease, farmers switch to Cavendish banana. This banana has less flavor than Gros Michel, but is more resistant to TR1.

Now another one is spreading PusariumThe strain, called TR4, is widespread worldwide. This fungus is fatal to all types of bananas, including the regular Cavendish.

A new Cavendish strain, QCAV-4, is resistant to TR4. The trunk was developed by researchers led by a biologist James Dale from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. They did this by adding a gene from the wild banana to the regular Cavendish banana.


The decision is “a very important step in creating a safety net for Cavendish bananas against DR4, which has already affected large parts of the world,” Dale said. In a statement.

Quarantine measures are currently in place in Australia to control the spread of TR4. As a result, there are only a small number of illnesses per year. Currently, there are no plans to grow QCAV-4 banana on a large scale or sell it to consumers.

However, TR4 is a big problem in other countries. Those countries may now decide to adopt genetically modified bananas.

Black cigarette disease

Dale's team soon plans to use the CRISPR DNA editing technique to make QCAV-4 banana resistant to another important fungal disease, black cigarette disease. It will make banana more attractive to farmers.

A team in Kenya previously used CRISPR to create a strain of the Gonja manjaya banana. was created He who is free from it Banana streak virus. It is a pathogen in the banana genome.

Genetically modified crops are already grown on a large scale in some countries. But elsewhere, including Australia, the United Kingdom and the European Union, some such crops are permitted for commercial cultivation.

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