Banana tissue culture is a first-generation plant biotechnology tool used to curtail the spread of pests and diseases, especially fungal and bacterial wilt diseases, by making disease-free planting material available for the propagation of new crops. Simple tissue culture techniques such as shoot-tip and embryo culture are well-developed in Africa and have greatly improved banana breeding, whereby the shoot meristem is extracted from the male flower and aseptically multiplied into hundreds of shoots for eventual planting in fields.


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The vast majority of the bananas currently grown and consumed were not conventionally bred but are selections made over probably thousands of years from naturally occurring hybrids. Cultivated bananas are very nearly sterile and as a consequence are not propagated from seed but rather through vegetative propagation, primarily suckers as well as more recently micropropagated or tissue cultured bananas. These factors, very old selections, near sterility and vegetative propagation, mean that these bananas have not been genetically improved either for resistance or improved quality and are becoming increasing in affected by serious pests and diseases.

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