Son of frankenbanana - the myth that never dies... (16/8/2005)

Son of frankenbanana - the myth that never dies...

The death of the banana (without the saving power of GM) is announced via the world's media with extraordinary regularity.

Below are some examples of the latest outbreak of this GM myth plus a couple of authoritative antidotes produced to counter previous outbreaks.

2.Bananas 'can't disappear by 2013'

*What's Offline? No, Seriously. Save the Bananas.
New York Times, United States - 12 Aug 2005
It's no joke, as Popular Science reports in a fascinating account this month... Scientists, primarily in Europe, are trying to genetically alter the Cavendish, to make it able to ...

*Some experts believe bananas may need Genetic Modification
FreshPlaza, Netherlands - 9 minutes ago
...some analysts believe the only way our favorite bananas may be saved from the fungus will be through genetic engineering.

*No, seriously, save the bananas
Checkbiotech.org (press release), Switzerland - 7 hours ago
By Paul B Brown. A two-pronged frantic race is under way to save the banana.

*The Cavendish banana could be wiped out
Monsters and Critics.com, UK - 21 hours ago
NEW YORK, NY, United States (UPI) -- The Cavendish, the version of the banana that tops most US cereal bowls, is being wiped out by fungus...

*The Cavendish banana could be wiped out
PhysOrg.com, VA - 23 hours ago
Banana plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and Taiwan have been destroyed by the fungus, which is spreading through much of Southeast Asia, reports ...

*The Cavendish banana could be wiped out:-
Webindia123, India - 23 hours ago
To save the banana, scientists are trying to genetically alter the Cavendish to make it able to resist the fungus. They are also developing another variety that they hope most consumers would find an acceptable substitute...

January 30, 2003
Agence France Presse [via agnet]

ROME - The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation was cited as denying on Thursday reports that commercial bananas are on the verge of extinction, but called on growers to promote greater genetic diversity to protect the fruit.

Eric Kueneman, head of FAO's Crop and Grassland service, was quoted as saying, "What is happening is the inevitable consequence of growing one genotype on a large scale."

But FAO said small-scale farmers around the world grew a wide range of banana species not threatened by the disease currently attacking the Cavendish type sold mostly on the world's supermarket shelves.

"The Cavendish banana, mostly found on western supermarket shelves, is important in world trade, but accounts for only 10 percent of bananas produced and consumed globally," FAO said.

It said the vulnerability to disease of this single strain of banana was "not unexpected".

2.Bananas 'can't disappear by 2013'
The Nation, Thailand, Thursday, January 30, 2003

A warning by Belgian scientists about the extinction by 2013 of the world's most popular edible fruit, the banana, has bemused Thai experts on the fruit.

Though it is accepted that bananas are subject to natural threats, Benchamas Silayoi, from Kasetsart University's Faculty of Agriculture, said it was impossible that the plant species - which is a staple food of millions globally - would soon vanish from the Earth.

Benchamas said there was a world collection of the banana's germplasm in Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. The objective of the world's largest collection, which contains over 1,100 accessions, is to conserve the plant.

"Once the bananas planted on Earth are eradicated by any threat, at least the world has genetic materials from bananas in vitro that could be placed on Earth," said one professor, who is an expert in the species.

Besides the huge collection in Belgium, there is an Asian banana collection kept in the Philippines.

Moreover, Thailand has its own collection at Kasetsart University's banana tissue culture lab.

A report of the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBP), recently presented in New Scientist Magazine, warned that the last common banana tree in the world would disappear within 10 years because of its "genetic decrepitude".

The report claimed that the banana, which is a sterile mutant plant species, cannot evolve to develop resistance to pests and diseases. The extinction of bananas in Cuba was mentioned as an example.

Veerachai na Nakhon, director of the Botanic Garden Organisation, agreed with the report that bananas have a tendency towards extinction, but not in 10 years.

"Not only

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