Hybridizing new banana breeds to save the lives of children

Why does science take the effort to make the world's most banal banana? Simply, because millions of people will be saved.

Recently, experts at Queensland University of Technology have created a new breed of banana, called "golden banana". According to Professor James Dale, the head of research, experts have worked hard to create it and this is a very important invention.

But why do researchers have to work hard to create bananas - something so trivial? The reason of this originated in Uganda, a country ... there are too many bananas. Here, bananas are the core food, and they almost eat every dish made from bananas.

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Basically, bananas contain lots of sugar and many nutrients, but the levels of trace elements are quite low, especially iron and pro-vitamin A. If you eat only bananas, vitamin A deficiency is impossible to avoid.

Every year, about 650,000 to 700,000 children worldwide die of pro vitamin A deficiency, with several hundred thousand children are permanently blind. In addition, the less serious cases also leave no small impact, such as slow growth, causing infertility, dry skin, etc.

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Deficiency of pro-vitamin A can cause blindness.

However, the new banana will solve all. By using genetically engineered technology, the result of a 12-year study by the University of Queensland is that it has a very high content of pro-vitamin A.

"We used a genome of Papua New Guinea banana - bananas with very high levels of pro-vitamin A but small stems- and then bred with Cavendish bananas in Uganda," Professor Dale said.

"Over the years, we have successfully developed a banana breed for extremely high levels of pro-vitamin A, with orange-yellow when it’s ripe instead of normal gold."

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Ripe bananas will appear orange, instead of daffodil as the normal banana.

The team tested hundreds of different gene sequences before creating the final version of "golden banana" in Uganda. Under the plan, they hope that farmers in Uganda will completely replace local bananas with this new banana in 2021.

"This research is a milestone, as we have a mission to bring more nutritious food sources to the African community," he said.The study was published in the journal Plant Biotechnology.

 In addition, The Star paper of South Africa reported on July 13th that Uganda scientists have taken biotechnology a further step by successfully transplanting bananas rich in vitamin A and iron, about four times higher than natural bananas.

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To produce this banana, the scientists separated the carrot genes and transplanted them into bananas to form a genetically modified banana. According to scientists at the National Center for Agricultural Research in Uganda (NARO), the new banana breed is not only rich in vitamin A and iron but also resistant to roundworms which can reduce up to 60% of crop yields in Uganda.

By: Scarlet Johnson

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