Global march of banana fungus revealed
There are comparatively few staple crops on which the world’s approximately seven thousand million people rely, and for more than 450 million the banana is the major one. Any new or spreading disease that threatens such vast monocultures as we humans depend upon will therefore be a major headache, and could lead to future food shortages and economic disasters we cannot really cope with. Rust spreading across the Indian Ocean is one such (see also here). Society however often seems to reject scientists who work on these problems of genetically speeding up what might take a lot longer with cross breeding.
This article looks at the spread of the banana fungus. One of the researchers says “I don’t think the disease would have spread so far without human contribution.” And then,
she hopes the study will help the banana industry reduce fungicide use and develop better control strategies. “It’s very important for the creation of pathogen-resistant varieties in a sustainable way because the pathogen does adapt”.