GO TO SOURCE
LONDON, ENGLAND, July 21, 2001: The banana will be the next major food crop to have its entire collection of genes decoded, an international consortium of scientists has announced. The banana genome should allow researchers to develop strains that are more resistant to disease and which require fewer agrochemicals to be applied during their cultivation. Researchers also have high hopes for the banana as a so-called nutraceutical -- its natural packaging could make it an ideal way to transport and consume drugs. The newly founded Global Musa (Banana) Genomics Consortium stated that due to historical propagation techniques, cultivated bananas have been at a near evolutionary standstill for thousands of years and lack the genetic diversity needed to fight off disease. Scientists hope also to acquire much general information that will help them understand how plants grow.