Cavendish bananas seem to be abundant in grocery stores, but a fungus has been threatening its existence for years, and saving it might become a technological endeavor.
The fungus that’s hunting the banana is Panama disease (aka Fusarium wilt), and about 10 years ago, it was mostly in Asia, but earlier this year, it made its first appearance in Columbia, where it directly affects the banana supply in the U.S. for the first time. That’s all according to Dan Koeppel, author of “Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World.”
Scientists are now trying to use CRISPR technology to make the Cavendish more resistant to the fungus.
However, Koeppel believes that route is problematic: “In the United States, we’re okay with GM [genetic modification] because we probably don’t know what food is and what food isn’t …. But there are people who do in Europe.”
He recently spoke with a banana scientist who said genetically modified bananas can’t be sold in half the world.
Original Podcast: The Cavendish banana is dying. Can CRISPR save it?