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Breeding climate-resilient bananas
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The impact of global climate change is expected to have the most significant effects on small-scale farmers in subtropical and tropical regions of the world without access to irrigation where banana is grown as an important staple crop. As a consequence, banana breeding needs to re-evaluate priorities and dedicate resources toward producing drought-tolerant cultivars. Specific challenges to breeding bananas for drought stress include the plants’ perennial nature, non-seasonal flowering, physical size, and reproductive barriers to hybridization that complicates selection of superior genotypes in improvement schemes. While considerable efforts to obtain drought-tolerant bananas through transformation strategies have been undertaken in the past decade, they have not to date led to widely accepted cultivars. A number of recommendations for future breeding are presented including the targeted evaluation of genetic variability, an expansion of efforts toward acquiring and distributing novel material, and the greater coordination of physiological and molecular research with active breeding programs to develop a pipeline for evaluation that integrates the strengths of each in a synergistic manner toward a common goal: developing cultivars with high yield potential under drought stress condition that does not detrimentally affect plant’s performance in non-stressed environments.
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Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/6970
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