Yes, we have no bananas: Leicester biologist presents at global conference

Posted by mjs76 at Dec 14, 2010 12:30 PM |
Can you name the world’s four most important crops, in terms of gross value of production? The top three are rice, wheat and maize – no real surprises there – but at number four you’ll find... bananas.
Yes, we have no bananas: Leicester biologist presents at global conference

image: Wikipedia

 At 23.2 million tons of bananas per year, India is the world’s largest producer of this fruit which is why one of our biologists recently found himself over in Tamil Nadu for the Global Conference on Banana 2010.

The snappily titled conference was called Meeting the challenges in banana and plantain for emerging biotic and abiotic stresses, held over 10-13 December in Tiruchirapalli and organised by the Association for the Improvement in Production and Utilization of Banana (AIPUB).

Professor Pat Heslop-Harrison, who is Professor of Molecular Cytogenetics and Cell Biology in our Department of Biology and sits on the Management Committee of the Global Musa Genomics Consortium*, gave a presentation on Genomics, biodiversity and breeding in banana. He has also written up a report on the conference as a guest blog post for the Annals of Botany.

The economic and scientific importance of bananas far outstrips that of any other fruit. Total world production is in the order of 100 million tons; there are something like 3,000 different commercial strains of banana; and sequencing of the entire banana genome – all 600 million base pairs – began in September 2009.

*Today's word is 'musa' which is the collective term for bananas and their close relatives plantains.

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