The program is investing heavily in developing genomic resources and gene editing technologies to be strategically positioned to lead the major innovations for banana improvement for the next decade. The program is generating assembled genome sequences of numerous bananas including commercially important cultivars such as Cavendish and cooking bananas as well as wild bananas possessing novel traits such as disease resistance. These genome sequences serve as the basis for the program’s gene discovery initiative. Coupled with this, the program is developing a highly efficient pipeline to generate gene edited, non-GM banana plants with a range of different traits including disease resistance, enhanced nutrition, and fruit quality.
The Banana Biotechnology Program has demonstrated the ability to edit a “marker gene” in Cavendish and regenerate edited plantlets.