The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our Annual Report.

Banana-destroying fungus hits South America. Is genetic engineering the solution?

| | August 14, 2019

A fungus that has wreaked havoc on banana plantations in the Eastern Hemisphere has, despite years of preventative efforts, arrived in the Americas.

ICA, the Colombian agriculture and livestock authority, confirmed …. that laboratory tests have positively identified the presence of so-called Panama disease Tropical Race 4 on banana farms in the Caribbean coastal region. The announcement was accompanied by a declaration of a national state of emergency.

The discovery of the fungus represents a potential impending disaster for bananas as both a food source and an export commodity. Panama disease Tropical Race 4—or TR4—is an infection of the banana plant by a fungus of the genus Fusarium. Although bananas produced in infected soil are not unsafe for humans, infected plants eventually stop bearing fruit.

Related article:  Myth busted: Only 'Big Ag' develops GMO crops

“Once you see it, it is too late, and it has likely already spread outside that zone without recognition,” says Gert Kema, Professor of Tropical Phytopathology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands whose lab analyzed soil samples to confirm TR4 in Colombia ….

James Dale of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia—[is] testing genetically modified disease-resistant Cavendish bananas, but public acceptance of GMOs could prove a significant obstacle to their widespread adoption ….

Read full, original article: The banana is one step closer to disappearing

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend