The banana is an important crop in many parts of the world.
And its cultivation in many countries, particularly in Latin America and Africa, has brought about changes in the genes of some people, which are seen as beneficial.
But when you look at the genetic makeup of some of the banana cultivars in South America, they may not have the same genes that have been linked to health problems in other countries.
Researchers at the University of Chile in Santiago and the University at the Capital of the Americas (UNCA) have found that some of these bananas may be carrying a gene that may make them more susceptible to a serious condition called banana mosaic, which is caused by recessive diseases and can cause a range of symptoms.
These findings may have implications for banana growers, because the gene responsible for banana mosaic is present in most varieties of the fruit and is present even in some varieties that are more disease resistant.
The researchers found that one banana cultivar, Cavendish, had the gene, while other cultivars had less.
These differences may be due to differences in the amount of the gene in the banana and the amount in the surrounding plant, they wrote in a study published in the journal Plant Cell.
A different banana, the Cavendish-Amor, has a much more severe disease-resistance gene.
“In this study, we found that a specific banana cultivariotype may be more disease-resistant than others,” said lead researcher, Professor Juan Carlos de la Fuente.
He explained that while it was thought that some banana cultivaris could be more resistant to the disease, it was not clear why this is.
“It’s possible that the disease resistance genes in Cavendish and Moras are very similar, and these two cultivars have less disease resistance,” he said.
“The other important thing is that we found these genetic differences, so we cannot say that Cavendish or Moras have the disease-preventing properties,” said co-author Dr Manuel Aguilar.
“We need more studies to investigate this further.”
The researchers believe that the differences between Cavendish cultivars and others may be down to differences with the plant that produces the banana.
“It is a matter of genetics, so it is possible that there is a genetic difference between the cultivars that produce Cavendish,” said Professor Aguilar, adding that there was also some research that indicated the gene for the disease response to a disease was different between different varieties.
“I hope this research will open the way for better research on the genes involved in banana disease resistance, and that we will find out which of these genes may be responsible for different disease-specificities in Cavender and Mora,” he added.
The research was funded by the UNCA.