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Industry News | 3 min read
July 10, 2023
July 10, 2023

Scientists create new Fusarium TR4 resistant banana variety.

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology made a significant breakthrough using the CRISPR gene editing technique to create a Cavendish banana variety resistant to Fusarium TR4.

The banana industry has been facing the threat of Fusarium TR4, a fungus capable of quickly wiping out a banana plantation, with Latin American countries most affected.

However, the future cultivation of this new variety is not guaranteed, and its use will depend on each country’s legislation regarding genetically modified organisms. It should be noted that this is not a transgenic variety in which an external gene is introduced.

What is CRISPR, and why is it important?

CRISPR is a revolutionary gene editing technology that allows scientists to modify DNA precisely and efficiently.

The importance of CRISPR lies in its ability to edit genes quickly, cheaply and accurately. Unlike traditional gene modification techniques, CRISPR is a highly versatile tool that can target specific DNA sequences and make precise changes, such as deleting, modifying or inserting genes.

This technology has applications in various fields, including agriculture, where it can develop disease-resistant crops, improve productivity and adapt plants to adverse environmental conditions.

The CRISPR gene editing technique allows researchers to modify and activate specific genes within an organism’s genome without introducing genetic material from another organism. By applying this technology to the Cavendish banana, scientists have successfully triggered a resistance gene that makes it immune to Fusarium TR4.

What is Fusarium TR4, and how does it affect bananas?

Fusarium TR4, also known as Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4, is a disease that affects Cavendish banana plantations worldwide, posing a severe threat to the banana industry.

The importance of Fusarium TR4 lies in its destructive and highly dispersible capabilities. This disease causes wilting and death in infected banana crops, resulting in the total loss of banana orchards. In addition, the fungus can survive in the soil for long periods, making controlling and eradicating the disease even more difficult.

The spread of Fusarium TR4 has generated worldwide concern in the banana industry due to its severe economic impact. Increased awareness has led to the implementation of strict biosecurity measures, including the quarantine of affected areas and the adoption of integrated pest management practices to prevent its spread.

This is why banana varieties resistant to the disease are currently being developed, and additional control and management methods are being introduced to reduce its impact on the banana industry.

Sources: Agronegocios, Portal Frutícola, Red Agrícola