Australian scientists have received several GM lines of the most popular bananas of the Cavendish variety, resistant to Fusarium fungi, epidemic which threatens to be a disaster popular fruit. About the work and field trials reported the online edition of Naked Science, citing an article published by the journal Nature Communications.
Bananas are the favorite fruit in the world, every year they are grown and sold more than 16 million tons recently, However, the whole global market is under threat of collapse. Something similar happened in the 1950s, when the fungus Fusarium oxysporum almost completely decimated Central American plantations very popular until that time, varieties of bananas Gros Michel.
Since manufacturers switched to resistant to these parasites cultivar Cavendish, and nowadays it accounts for almost half of all bananas grown in the world. However, in the 1990s, it suffered attack – mutated fungi of type Fusarium TR4. Conventional fungicides can not cope with them; helps deep disinfection, but it is extremely difficult and also insufficient. In 2012, outbreaks appeared in Southeast Asia, was recorded in the middle East, and later in Mozambique. Soon the epidemic spread of plantations in China, Laos, and Vietnam. While it did not affect only American farmers, but it is probably only a matter of time.
A wild banana plants resistant to TR4, and their ability to have used James Daly and his colleagues at the Queensland University of technology in Australia. Scientists have identified the RGA2 gene, providing resistance, and brought it into the genome of bananas of the Cavendish variety, having six experimental lines with different number of copies of RGA2. At the same time were derived lines carrying the gene of the nematode Ced9, which provides protection against a number of dangerous fungal diseases.
In 2012, scientists planted their crops on the farm in Australia, where the “Panama disease” Fusarium appeared in the late 1990s. to ensure that the plants do face the attack of the fungus, there were buried the remains of plants that died from the disease. After three years of testing from 67% to 100% of the control seedlings that do not have genes of resistance, were killed or were on the verge of death. However, some of the GM lines felt great, so 80% of the plants did not have any symptoms.
Moreover, one of the lines with the RGA2 gene and one line with Ced9 showed 100% resistance. The size, taste and other properties of fruits is not changed. Experts praised the results, calling them extremely promising. However, experts recognize the conservatism of this market, not always willing to accept new GM products. In this case, farmers will have to switch to cultivation of other varieties, some of which had independently developed a resistance to disease.
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