Transgenic banana could feed millions. Validated RNRRS Output.


This is one of 280 summaries describing key outputs from the projects run by DFID's 10-year Renewable Natural Resources Research Strategy (RNRRS) programmes.

Summary for Project titles: R6743: The Development and Testing of Transgenic Cultivars of Banana Resistant to Nematodes and R8031: Genetic transformation of rice, potato and cooking bananas for nematode resistance.

A safe transgenic banana could prevent nematodes (worms) destroying around 6 million tonnes of bananas a year. This is enough to feed the 60 million people in Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon for whom banana is a staple food. Because bananas are sterile, it's very hard to breed resistance to nematodes by conventional plant breeding methods. And the chemicals that are used to control nematodes are harmful both to humans and the environment. The gene introduced into East Highland African Bananas stops the nematodes growing and laying eggs, but does not affect humans at all. This technology is already being used in the UK, and also in Uganda on local cooking bananas. The transgenic method is also being applied to develop nematode-resistant potatoes and rice.

The CD has the following information for this output: Description, Validation, Current Situation, Current Promotion, Impacts On Poverty, Environmental Impact. Attached PDF (13 pp.) taken from the CD.


PSP20, New technologies, new processes, new policies: tried-and-tested and ready-to-use results from DFID-funded research, Research Into Use Programme, Aylesford, Kent, UK, ISBN 978-0-9552595-6-2, p 23.

Published 1 January 2007