GMO (genetically modified organism) bananas do not reproduce naturally; they are clones from the Stone Age. In 2008 Fred Pearce, writer for Conservation Magazine out of the University of Washington, wrote there are not many crops that are older than the banana. They have been around since the Stone Age, and our prehistoric cousins discovered them. The wild banana is filled with seeds and cannot be eaten. It is from a mutation that the plants become, soft, seedless fruit. Pearce states scientists are now aware it is a “genetic accident” that disrupts seeds and pollen from becoming the seeds normally developed in wild bananas. The result of this accident is sterile plants that need human assistance to multiply.
Unable to reproduce on their own, farmers cultivated bananas by cloning, or cutting, and replanting old-time GMOs. What we ingest in the present day is the same banana, cloned from the Stone Age. In a natural evolution, plants adapt from genetic variety caused by sexual reproduction. Since the banana is sterile and reproduced by humans, it has not changed, nor has it been able to build up its resistance to any threat against its livelihood. The main banana was the Gros Michel. The Living Rainforest out of the UK states the Panama fungus wiped out the Gros Michel during the 1950s, and Cavendish, today’s banana, is experiencing the same pain.
GMO Compass informs people that Cavendish is a southern Chinese variety of bananas. According to Compass, the Black Sigatoka disease has been attacking the Cavendish bananas for at least thirty years. Bananas are parthenocarpic, meaning they form fruit without fertilization. Banana farmers are hopeful that modern genetic engineering will save the day and their crops. Currently, the battle against fungi is being fought with a huge amount of fungicides. It is interesting to note that wild bananas, the ones filled with seeds, can reproduce naturally and are resistant to fungi and other pathogens.
Bugs are also part of the banana shortage issue. “Ladybug” is the American name for a ladybird, which is a beetle. Many species of ladybirds exist and a majority of them help humanity and bananas since they eat phytophagous, which means “plant pests.” Some beetles are just pests. Throughout the world, there are 6,000 known species of beetle.
The UA Research Group in Plant Pathology has developed an antifungal composition, according to Science Daily. They claim chitosan, the main component of sea crustaceans such as lobster, crab, shrimp, and similar marine life, is a non-toxic biocompatible. They state that is also naturally degradable with antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Director of the UA Research Group, Luis Vicente Lopez Liorca, explains this discovery may be beneficial for veterinary use or coating foods to prevent contamination.
There has been a lot of learning going on recently about the cousins of modern humanity. During the Stone Age, pre-modern man figured out how to clone bananas, showing modern man once again there might be a new definition of intelligence.