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Do We Need a GMO Banana?

Bananas are one of the world’s most popular fruits, with 114 million tons produced globally in 2017. While there are more than 1,000 varieties of bananas, most commercialized bananas sold in U.S. and European grocery stores are the Cavendish type. This variety accounts for about 47% of global banana production. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Cavendish bananas are more resilient to the effects of global travel, making them popular for international trade. Further, they achieve high yields per hectare and are less prone to damage from storms due to their short stems. Cavendish plants are also valued for their ability to recover quickly from natural disasters. Taken together, Cavendish bananas may see like the perfect fruit, but there’s a downside to the lack of diversity that comes from widespread production of just one variety of banana: it’s incredibly prone to diseases and has even been said to be at risk of extinction. While genetic engineering has been touted as the only way to save the banana, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) has announced the development of a new, 100% organic, disease-resistant banana that’s non-GMO and coming to commercial markets in March 2020.  Read more....



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